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Drug Substance Abuse Risks Among Sexual Minorities

What Does Sexual Minority Mean

Sexual minorities are groups of people whose sexuality is different from what is considered the norm. Heteronormativity (heterosexual considered normal) is what is assumed in our society. Sexual minorities have a different sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics than what is assumed.

It is most likely meant to mean people who are gay, bi, or transgender. People who are not inherently attracted to the opposite gender or don’t fit gender norms.

Sexual minorities are usually meant for socially acceptable groups. It does not include activity that is illegal or harmful such as pedophilia or sex addiction.

Causes Behind Substance Abuse

In 2015 more than twice as many adults who are of a sexual minority reported using drugs compared to heterosexual adults.

Substance abuse is actually more prevalent in sexual minorities. Being a sexual minority actually does increase the risk of drug use and addiction. There are many reasons for this.

A common reason is that it can be hard growing up as a sexual minority. It is possible to face hostility from friends or family. There is discrimination toward being a sexual minority and not fitting the heteronormative ideals of our society.

This means that because they aren’t accepted they feel intense pressure or even depression. They might turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. They might think they feel better with the high drugs can give.  Or alcohol might numb their pain or stress.

In a study published in 2012, it was proven that discrimination did contribute to more substance abuse problems. Many people use drugs and alcohol to cope with their problems. Sexual minorities tend to have a lot more problems that they can’t do anything about.

They also are more likely to have anxiety or depression. They are also more likely to have behavior issues or attempt suicide. All of that increases the chance for abusing drugs or alcohol.

70% of addiction treatment centers do not have specialized services for sexual minorities. This means there isn’t a place for them to feel safe. Or to feel included.

Because there are not specialized programs, they are at risk for discrimination at treatment centers. They may not want to seek treatment or be honest. They could be concerned that people would become hostile.

Intolerance and obvious discrimination are the most significant issues sexual minorities face when seeking treatment. This can keep many of them from doing so.