Drug abuse in the LGBT community is a serious issue that affects thousands of Americans each year. In fact, the true prevalence of substance abuse among this group is unknown, as many people would not admit to drug use for fear of persecution or other repercussions. This feeling is exacerbated being that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual group is already often persecuted and harassed. The problem with this is that a group that is naturally persecuted is under more stress than most groups and therefore much more likely to use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, this adds to a negative stereotyping of the LGBT community that only proper education about the issue will resolve.

Regardless of what group you belong to, higher stress levels make you more susceptible to drug addiction or alcoholism. In many parts of the United States lesbians and gay people are still harassed, beaten and even killed because of their sexual preference. They are not permitted to marry in most cases and in general are subjected to a social disparity that has not been seen in the US since the Civil Rights Movement began. Whether you agree with these issues or not, this causes a severe level of constant stress that will cause some to seek solace in drugs or alcohol. Once this occurs the person exposes themselves to even more because of the rigorous persecution of drug users.

Some experts believe that there is a high rate of substance abuse among LGBT people because this same rate can be applied to nearly anyone who lives an unconventional lifestyle. Karen M. Jordan addressed this issue in a report for the University of Illinois at Chicago;

"One prominent theory of substance abuse postulates that adolescents who engage in one problem behavior are more likely to engage in conduct problems, aggression, delinquency, and sexual activity – with the thread being an underlying construct of unconventionality."

Whether this is because the social pressures of being gay or lesbian lead to substance abuse or because those who are unconventional are simply more likely to do unconventional things is not known. What is known is that the rates are high enough to indicate there is a serious problem with drugs or alcohol among this group. The United States Office of Applied Studies estimates that of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual group, approximately 20-40% have a drug or alcohol problem. But while there are those who dispute these exact figures, the National Association of Lesbian and Gay Addiction Professionals indicate that there is indeed a problem, stating that there is a higher rate or substance abuse in this group and an associated increased likelihood of heavy drinking much later in life than the general population.

Fortunately, most addiction and alcoholism professionals know that you don't treat people according to their sexuality. Addiction is a human disease – not a preference or a choice, and it can and does affect all different types of people from all social backgrounds. Therefore, it's imperative to treat the addiction first, and then address underlying issues that may have caused it such as stress, peer pressure, domestic violence, bipolar disorder, PTSD or other conditions.

If substance abuse affects you or someone you love, take action now and speak to an expert at our Florida Drug Rehab Center – widely considered one of the most successful in the country.

Click here to check your insurance, ask a question or request a call back from Recovery First's drug rehab.

Author's Bio: 

RJ Hudson is a highly trained and versatile professional writer and editor.