Communities at Risk

Substance Use Disorders in LGBTQ Populations

Authored by: Kate Lehmann

The Routledge Handbook of LGBTQIA Administration and Policy

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9780815366508
eBook ISBN: 9781351258807
Adobe ISBN:


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In 2015, for the first time ever in the USA, information about sexual identity was collected as part of the National Survey on Drug Use conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This large sample population survey confirmed the suspicions of many healthcare professionals: People who identify as sexual minorities have two–three times the rate of substance use disorders as the sexual majority population. This alarming statistic crosses all types of substances. On the other hand, sexual minorities seek out treatment at a higher rate than majority members. This chapter will examine these newly acquired statistics and attempt to interpret them in the light of what is understood about the relationship between minority stress and use of illicit substances, and will discuss the need for public policy changes, as well as culturally appropriate assessment and treatment options for LGBTQ populations.

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