The GLBT Community and Their Need for Substance Abuse Treatment

Jan 17


Jonathan Huttner

Jonathan Huttner

  • Share this article on Facebook
  • Share this article on Twitter
  • Share this article on Linkedin

People who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) represent a substantial minority of the U.S. population, yet pervasive prejudice and stigma often inhibit the development and provision of appropriate drug rehab and dual diagnosis services for them.


This article provides basic information regarding common drug rehab and dual diagnosis concerns of GLBT persons to aid in the development of culturally competent mental health services.

Gay,The GLBT Community and Their Need for Substance Abuse Treatment Articles Lesbian Substance Abuse Issues

Research findings vary on rates of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction and drug abuse among lesbians and gay men, but experts maintain that drug and alcohol abuse are significant health and mental health concerns for sexual minorities. One study found that lesbians and gay men were twice as likely to be moderate drinkers, but about equally as likely to be heavy drinkers, as heterosexuals. Experts note the likelihood of a link between internalized homophobia, low self-esteem, ongoing discrimination and alcohol abuse and drug abuse. GLBT who seek addiction treatment for substance abuse problems may encounter barriers to addiction treatment in unsupportive service settings. This is the reason for the need of gay friendly drug rehab programs and gay friendly alcohol rehab programs.

Gay, Lesbian Youth

Addiction treatment providers must be aware of the special needs of GLBT youth, who face complex developmental tasks in an atmosphere that often includes isolation, hostility, prejudice and potential danger. They may be the targets of harassment from both peers and adults. As a result, GLBT youth are more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, more likely to be victims of violence, and are more likely to be victims of substance abuse, drug addiction, alcoholism or dual diagnosis.

If you require help locating a gay friendly drug rehab or a gay friendly alcohol rehab you can call the national addiction treatment helpline at 1-800-511-9225 or go to