Drug Addiction in the LGBT community has become a major issue with its own subset of challenges in treating addiction. To meet the needs of the LGBT population several drug rehabs and substance abuse treatment centers have program tracks for drug addiction and mental health issues facing the LGBT community.


LGBT Risk of Developing Drug Addiction

According to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted in 2017, members of the LGBT community are often faced with many challenges such as social stigma, that is rarely encountered by the heterosexual population. The LGBT community are not only at risk of drug addiction, but they are also at a greater risk of developing several behavioral and mental health issues as well.

Drug Addiction in the LGBT Community

The abuse of drugs not only refer to prescription medication such as OxyContin (Oxycodone), but also applies to more illicit drugs such as heroin, meth, and alcohol. All substances that affect the central nervous system altering the mood and sensations of an individual.

Rates of Drug Addiction in the LGBT Community

Within the year of 2015 alone, people who identify as members of the LGBT community accounted for higher rates of substance abuse than heterosexual people who used an illegal drug such as cocaine or heroin, as well as a great deal of LGBT members abusing marijuana, followed by the misuse of prescribed pain relievers (National Survey on Drug Use and Health).

Another study by the US Census Bureau in 2013 also recorded that there are a higher proportion of adults in the LGBT community who reported binge drinking within that year.

LGBT Young Adults and Drug Addiction

Although not much research has been done on transgender individuals, studies have shown that the younger individuals who identify as LGBT members are more prone to developing drug and alcohol addiction and seek treatment for their substance abuse.

Also, studies have also highlighted the fact that LGBT individuals account for approximately between 20-30% of substance abuse more than the general population with higher rates of substance abuse being ingested by the homeless LGBT individuals. Therefore, it is no surprise that LGBT persons are at a higher risk of developing substance addictions with a higher risk of their addiction being more severe than that of the general population.

Drugs Commonly Abused by the LGBT Community

Designer drugs / Party drugs

These type of drugs include ecstasy and GHB that were initially used by gay and bisexual men in the event of a rave. However, since more recent times, these types of drugs have been used for weekend parties, night parties and even merely just for recreational purposes.


Otherwise called weed, grass or cannabis, is abused by a vast number of LGBT persons. Since the smoke inhalation of marijuana typically brings forth the feeling of well-being and relaxation that makes them feel calmer and less aggressive to those who may not understand their particular sexual preference. This is among the most commonly abused drug by the LGBT members.


Stimulants are among the most common to be abused by LGBT individuals, stimulant drugs include:

The effects that seem desirable to abusers of these types of illicit drugs bring on the feelings of increased alertness, higher than usual sexual arousal as well as an elevation in mood or euphoria.

Drug Addiction in the LGBT Community

Drug Addiction Treatment for LGBT

Despite some LGBT individuals being afraid to seek treatment because of the social discrimination, intolerance and stigma that they may experience from the general population as well as just feeling as if there is no hope for addiction treatment, there treatment methods available. These include:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Social support therapies
  • Motivational interviewing / therapy

These methods have also been proven to be useful for bisexual or gay men, especially, since gay men (in some cases) face more intolerant than lesbians. Those men who were enlisted in specialized groups for addiction treatment programs showed more improvements when compared to those in non-specialized programs.

Factors Affecting LGBT People from Seeking Drug Addiction Treatment

The LGBT community encounters many different problems that are often too overwhelming. Some of these issues range from intolerance, stigma and open discrimination. In some cases, a member of the LGBT community may avoid treatment out of fear of being treated hostile by the substance abuse treatment community or staffs lack of knowledge about their unique needs.

LGBT Recovery Centers

Regardless of gender, race or sexual preference addiction and alcoholism do not discriminate. It impacts everyone and their families. If you or your loved one is suffering from addiction, there are treatment options available, including online treatment, LGBT substance abuse treatment centers, LGBT drug rehabs, and LGBT residential drug treatment centers.

Many LGBT recovery centers such as sober living and halfway houses as well as outpatient substance abuse centers cater to the LGBT community.

Contact our LGBT addition hotline if you need additional information.

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