Anti-LGBT Discrimination Drives Substance Abuse, Report Says

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com March 11 2012 5:00 PM ET

 LGBT people may have a higher rate of substance abuse because they use drugs and alcohol to cope with discrimination, according to a new issue brief from the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

Noting that definitive figures are hard to come by, the center estimates that 20% to 30% of LGBT people are substance abusers, as opposed to 9% of the general population. A major contributor to the problem, it says, is “the stress that comes from daily battles with discrimination and stigma.”

“In order to lower these rates, our health care system needs to better meet the needs of gay and transgender people, and our government needs to advance public policies that promote equality for this population,” the brief continues. It recommends legislative steps such as passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Respect for Marriage Act, and urges the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to make moves to assure culturally appropriate treatment and prevention measures for LGBT people.

Read the full report here.