Past studies have suggested that LGBT folks (especially our youth) are more likely to use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, in relation to their “straight” peers, but not the extent to which it differed.
An abstract of the study conducted by the University of Michigan called the “Severity of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use Disorders Among Sexual Minority Individuals and Their ‘Not Sure’ Counterparts” confirms that substance use disorders are more prevalent—and more severe—among sexual minorities in the United States, said lead researcher Carol Boyd, U-M professor of nursing.
“Our findings provide strong evidence that a higher proportion of sexual minority individuals, particularly bisexual individuals and those who are not sure of their sexual identities, have severe alcohol and tobacco use disorders, and those who are ‘not sure’ also have a higher proportion of severe drug use disorders,” said Boyd, who’s also the director of the Center for Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health.
The study, in the latest issue of The Journal of LGBT Health, is troubling at best especially as the people who identified as lesbian or gay were over twice as likely to have a severe alcohol or tobacco use disorder, when compared to heterosexuals.
The study didn’t examine the reasons behind the alcohol and drug use, and more research is necessary to understand what it means to be “not sure,” Boyd said.
A depressing piece of data and a surprising finding was “that people who reported having no sex during the past year were significantly less likely to have any substance use disorder,” Boyd said.
Again, due to the narrowness and specificity of the data, the researchers didn’t examine why.