Substance Abuse Significantly More Prevalent in LGBTQ+ Students, Says Study

Feeling like you can’t be yourself, being ashamed, can of course lead to self-destructive behavior. A lot of us in the LGBTQ+ community already knew this, but a study of American teenagers and drug abuse has just emphasized it further.

San Diego State University researchers evaluated 15,624 students, asking them their sexual orientation, and about their use of various drugs including alcohol, opiates, meth and tobacco.

According to Pink News, the study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that LGBTQ+ students are more likely use substances including “alcohol, cigarettes, cigars, cocaine, ecstasy, vape, hallucinogens, heroin, inhalants, weed, meth, prescription drugs, steroids and synthetic marijuana.”

Pink News also points out the distressing numbers showing how much more likely LGBTQ+ teens are to turn to hard drugs: 6.6 percent surveyed admitted to using heroin against 1.3 percent of straight kids.

Also upsetting: 8.6 percent of LGBTQ+ kids said they’d use meth as opposed to 2.1 percent of straight students. 15 percent admitted they’d use cocaine and ecstasy.

Some, of course, might take this as an opportunity to judge LGBTQ+ teens, or to stereotype people in the community as drug addicts.

To any rational person, this reads as a devastating wake-up call.

Laramie Smith, one of the study’s authors and an LGBTQ+ health researcher at the University of California, San Diego, said this:

“Our findings highlight the need for accepting LGBQ teens, as stigma may be playing a role in elevating their substance use risk or prevent those from needing help to speak up.”

h/t: Pink News