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Study: Homosexuals seven times more likely to use illegal drugs

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 24th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to a study conducted over two years in the United Kingdom, homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals are seven times more likely to take illegal drugs than the general population. Additionally, one in five in this sector show signs of dependency on drugs or alcohol. Marijuana, "poppers," aka amyl nitrate, cocaine and ecstasy are among the most widely abused.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Conducted by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation and the University of Central Lancashire, the study sampled more than 4,000 people over two years.

Statistics found that a third of gay, lesbian and bisexual people took at least one illegal drug in the last month, according to the study - the largest of its kind to date.

This contrasts to five percent of the wider population who admitted using a drug in the last month in the Crime Survey for England and Wales.

The most widely used were "party drugs" such as marijuana and "poppers," which is a liquid nitrite sold in a small bottle and inhaled. These were followed by powder cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, aka "Special K" and amphetamines.

The study found that gays were 10 times more likely to have used cocaine in the last month than the wider population, and 13 times more likely to have used ketamine. The use of heroin use was similar among both populations. Crack cocaine abuse was far higher among the gay community.

David Stuart, education, training and outreach manager at London Friend, the UK's only targeted LGBT drug and alcohol service, told the paper feelings of "rejection" and "fear" as well as "shame around sex" could contribute to drug use.

"People are very quick to label gay people as troubled, or inherently needing those crutches, but all our methods of socializing revolve around drink or drugs," Kitty Richardson who runs a blog for lesbians in London says.

The research also found that whereas drug use in the general population declined with age, almost as many lesbian, gay and bisexual people aged 36 to 40 were taking drugs as their younger counterparts.

Drug counselor Sarah Graham says that her own experiences of being subjected to homophobic bullying was a factor in her battle with addiction, which at one point saw her spending nearly $1,000 a week on drugs and alcohol, such as cannabis, speed and acid and then cocaine.

"A lesbian, gay or bisexual person presenting in treatment can have specific traumas, in which workers need to be trained," Graham says.

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