Originally published on Advocate.com March 28 2008 12:00 AM ET
Gay, lesbian, and
bisexual teens are 190% more likely to abuse illegal
substances than heterosexual youths, MedicalNewsToday.com
reported Wednesday. A new study by the University of
Pittsburgh shows that among this group of LGB teens,
the odds were higher for bisexual youths, 340%, and
lesbian youths, at 400%.
discrimination, and victimization are largely what are
responsible for these substance use disparities in young gay
people," said study leader Michael P. Marshal,
assistant professor of psychiatry at the Western
Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC. "History
shows that when marginalized groups are oppressed and do not
have equal opportunities and equal rights, they
suffer. Our results show that gay youth are clearly no
The results come
from a look at 18 previous studies between 1994 and
2006, which tested the associations between drug use and
sexual orientation in teens. The substances in the
study included cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana,
cocaine, methamphetamine, and injection drugs.
"It is important
to remember that the vast majority of gay youth are
happy and healthy, despite the stressors of living in a
violent, homophobic society," Marshal said in the
article. "More than anything, gay youth need love,
support, and acceptance from their family members and
friends. It also is imperative that health care providers
offer a safe, confidential environment to discuss health
care needs with gay teens."
The study's full
results are in the current issue of Addiction.