According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) the rate of Substance Abuse Disorder among the LGBT community isn’t well known but studies indicate that it is somewhere between 20%—30% which is significantly higher than the general population which stands at 9%. Additionally, men who have sex with men are 3.5 times more likely to use marijuana, 9.5 more likely to use heroin, and 12.2 more likely to use amphetamines then men who do not have sex with men.
There are many reasons that the LGBT community may be at higher risk for substance abuse disorders. It is speculated that the stress that comes from the daily battles with discrimination and prejudice is a major contributing factor. Tobacco, drugs and alcohol may be used as methods for coping with this stress.
The lack of culturally competent health care services and negative experiences with health care can discourage the LGBT community from seeking services and is also seen as a contributing factor to these higher use rates. Many health care providers simply do not have the expertise or see serving this population as a priority.
Lastly, the targeted marketing efforts by alcohol and tobacco companies exploit the connection many gay and transgender people have to gay bars and clubs which are seen as safe havens for socializing. Tobacco and alcohol companies have specifically targeted gay and transgender individuals and thus have exacerbated the higher rates among this population.
The New Bridge Foundation believes in the importance of serving diverse populations. Not only does the agency have as part of its mission statement to not discriminate on the basis of race, spiritual beliefs, social-economic status, language, gender, sexual preference, or disability, New Bridge has as a dedication to having diverse individuals represented on the Board, management, staff, and volunteers, making sure these representatives are involved in on-going decision making as well as the implementation and evaluation of the services provided.
New Bridge Foundation has a long commitment to cultural competency and serving LGBT individuals with substance abuse issues and will continue to ensure culturally competent, specialized treatment to the LGBT community. Please contact us at 1-(866) 772-8491 if you or a loved one would like more information about our services and a free assessment.