The issue of LGBTQ health does not seem to get enough attention in the equality movement. While the conversation does typically involve suicide rates and mental health of the LGBTQ community, it is rare that substance abuse in the community is discussed. Recent studies have shown that while only about 9 percent of the general population suffers from substance abuse issues, 20 to 30 percent of the LGBTQ community suffers from substance abuse issues.
It’s not surprising that the stress and pressure associated with discrimination and stigma is a cause for this large amount of substance abuse. LGBTQ are turning to alcohol and other substances in large numbers as a way to escape from these stressors. So what is the solution to this problem? We have several thoughts on this issue.
If we want to decrease the rates of substance use in the LGBTQ community, we need to have a short-term and a long-term strategy. In the short term, treatment programs and rehabilitation centers need to become accessible for all addicts and alcoholics–including those in the LGBTQ community. In the long term, we need to urge our politicians and lawmakers to do more to fight discrimination and inequality in this country. We also need to better educate the youth so that true equality will be the way of the future.
We could do this in several ways. For example, we could create federal protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. We could also incorporate social justice and equality courses in our middle and high schools so that our youth are educated in a way that will help them to accept the diverse landscape of the present and the future.
There is a lot to do in the fight to end substance abuse in the LGBTQ community. Addressing this problem has its difficulties, but it is a necessary step on the road to true equality. If you or a loved one is having substance abuse problems, it is absolutely essential that you seek out a rehabilitation facility like to get the treatment you deserve.