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Gays more likely to abuse drugs, study finds

Gays more likely to abuse drugs, study finds

Gays, lesbians are bisexuals are more likely to be dependent on drugs and alcohol compared to straights, a new report has revealed.

The five year-long project ‘Part of the Picture’ was conducted by the Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF) and the University of Central Lancashire, and sampled over 7,000 people within the LGB community of England.

Answers reveal over a quarter of respondents are substance dependents on drugs such as cannabis, ‘poppers,’ – an inhaled liquid nitrite – as well as powder cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and amphetamines.

The report also found those who use more than one substance, called poly-substance users, are twice more likely to be dependent compared to those who only use one.

Dr Caroline Yorston, Policy & Research Officer at The Lesbian & Gay Foundation said the people they spoke to illustrated some of the social and emotional reasons why they use substances, such as isolation and depression.

‘We already know these issues disproportionately affect lesbian, gay and bisexual people, so we can start to understand why substance use is higher among this community,’ she said.

The study came as a response to the limited and poor information provided about LGB people substances abuse and aims at creating a national database of LGB people drug and alcohol use.

It was also found LGB dependents were more likely to seek help from informal sources, such as family or the Internet instead of professional services. According to the report, fears around confidentiality, feeling of shame and embarrassment prevent some people from asking for support.

The report was publicly launched for Alcohol Awareness Week (12 – 18 November).