A new report from the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) and the University of Central Lancashire, finds that drug use amongst the lesbian and gay community is much higher than in the rest of the popoulation of the UK. 4,000 people were surveyed as part of the research and one in five of the gay community showed signs of drug or alcohol dependency.
Overall drug use in the LGBT was seven times higher than in the rest of the population. The reasons for this seem complex. Dealing with homophobia in a still disrminatory society and the party lifestyle associated with the LGBT community could be factors.
Only 5% of the wider population admitted to using illegal drugs in the last month compared to more 33% of the gay community.
Campaigners from the LGBT community spoke out and called the results of the report a "wake up call". There was also concern that specialist drug treatment services were often shunned by some mebers of the gay community who feared discrimination from both workers and other users.
Cannabis was the most widely used drug among those surveyed with poppers (amyl nitrate) the second most used drug. These were follwed by cocaine and other illegal drugs. Cocaine use was 10 times higher in the gay community than in the wider population.
Speaking in the Independent, LGF's policy and research co-ordinator, Heather Williams said "This should be a wake-up call for people working with the community and for policy makers commissioning services at a local and national level."
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