There are several aspects of alcohol and drug use among LGBTI communities
that can be of concern.
- Research has shown a link between illicit drug use and sexual
- Rates of crystal methamphetamine (ice) use amongst gay men that are
higher than those in the broader community are of particular
- Bisexual men and women have higher rates of alcohol and other drug
- Gay men have higher rates of alcohol and other drug use than
- Lesbian women are more likely to drink alcohol in harmful amounts
than heterosexual women, and smoking is more prevalent among lesbian,
bisexual and queer women.
- LGBTI young people are more likely than heterosexual young people
to drink alcohol, smoke and use illicit drugs.
For people who are LGBTI, drug and alcohol use can also be related to
coping with pressures associated with accepting their own sexual
orientation, gender identity or intersex status, coming out, entering the
social scene or hiding their sexual orientation, gender identity or
intersex status when they feel unsafe.
The LGBTI population has difficulty accessing drug treatment programs
and are likely to have lower treatment success rates than the general
population if they feel their needs are not being met.
Responding to the needs of people who are LGBTI
better respond to the needs of LGBTI clients include:
- Educate and support to staff in areas including:
- the relationship between illicit drug use, alcohol use and
sexual risk-taking, including how to take sexual histories with
clients (where appropriate).
- drug and alcohol use as a tool for coping with
discrimination, stigma and their associated mental health
- other influences on LGBTI drug and alcohol use
- Develop working relationships and referral pathways with sexual
health and mental health services.
- Link clients to LGBTI community and support networks as part of
treatment programs and follow up where appropriate.
Youth Drugs and Alcohol Advice (YoDAA)
provides young people with alcohol and
drug information, support options, service finder and options for
self-help. For support and advice phone the free 24 hour YoDAA
line 1800 458 685 or to raise a query
about alcohol and drugs email YoDAA for a response within 72 hours. To
access alcohol and drug information, advice and treatment options for young
people visit the website
is a 24/7 telephone and online service which supports people seeking
alcohol and other drug information, advice or referral to treatment.
is a statewide point
of access to the alcohol and other drug treatment system offering
confidential advice and support to primary alcohol and drug users, their
family and friends. DirectLine
can be contacted on 1800 888 236.
DoHA, 2011, National Drug Strategy 2010-2015 (Ministerial Council on
Drug Strategy), Commonwealth of , Canberra.
Hughes, T., Szalacha, L. A., and McNair, R., 2010, Substance abuse and
mental health disparities: Comparisons across sexual identity groups in a
national sample of young Australian women, Social
Leonard, W., Dowsett, G., Slavin, S., Mitchell, A., and Pitts, M., 2008,
Crystal clear: The social determinants of gay men's use of methamphetamine
in Victoria, in: Monograph Series Number , The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health
and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne.
Leonard, W., Pitts, M., Mitchell, A., Lyons, A., Smith, A., Patel,
Sunil., Couch, M., and Barrett, A., 2012, Private Lives 2: the second
national survey of the health and wellbeing of gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender (GLBT) Australians, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & , La Trobe University , Melbourne.
McNair, R., 2014, ALICE Study Final Report to , The University of Melbourne, Turning
Point, GLHV, Deakin.
Pennay, A., McNair, R., Lubman, D. I., Brown, R., Valpied, J., Leonard,
L., Hegarty, K., and Hughes, T., 2013, The ALICE Study: Alcohol and
lesbian/bisexual women: insights into culture and emotions, Drug and Alcohol