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LGB people seven times more likely to take drugs

The first ever survey into substance use by lesbian, gay and bisexual people shows we are more likely to binge drink and take drugs than the wider population.

Harriet P Evans

Tue, 14 Aug 2012 10:28:41 GMT | Updated 4 years today

The results from the first ever survey into substance use by LGB people showed that we are much more likely to binge drink and take drugs than the wider population.

The survey, by the Lesbian & Gay Foundation and the University of Central Lancashire, collected data from 4,000 LGB people between 2009-2011, and discovered 'striking' results.
It shows that LGB men and women are around twice as likely to binge drink, with nearly a third binge drinking at least once or twice a week.
Across all age groups LGB people are more likely to take drugs. Of the people asked, 35% had taken a substance, other than alcohol, in the last month. This is estimated to be seven times higher than this kind of use by the general population.
Over a fifth of the people in the survey were classed as dependent on a substance, with a further quarter showing at least one sign of dependency.
Key figures from the NHS, Greater Manchester Police and regional drug and alcohol services considered these levels 'striking' compared to the wider population. Despite this, only a third of LGB people involved had sought information or advice about their substance use.
Heather Williams,Policy and Research Coordinator at the Lesbian & Gay Foundation, said: "We hope this research will foster wider understanding of how drugs and alcohol feature in the lives of LGB people, and break down the perceptual and tangible barriers LGB people often face when seeking advice or support about substance use issues."
The survey was part of the findings from the 'Part of the Picture' project, which was funded by the Big Lottery. Following the results and the issues they have raised, an action plan about accessible services for problematic LGB substance use will be published this autumn.

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