When society is prejudiced against a certain group of people, the members of that group often begin to experience self-hatred. Such is the case with the gay and lesbian population in the United States. “Mainstream” society has discriminated against homosexuals for so long, that the members of the community have developed serious self-image and self-esteem issues. And it is these issues, along with several other combustible factors, that have led to rampant drug addiction among gay men and women.
Gay and lesbian drug treatment programs seek to combat this growing problem by providing a positive, enriching environment for men and women to fight addiction to cocaine, heroin, crystal meth and other highly addictive drugs. By creating a place where sexual preference is not a stigma, rehab programs geared towards the gay community allow the recovery process to happen without distraction.
Some of the startling statistics regarding drug abuse and the gay and lesbian population:
- Studies have found that over a quarter of the gay and lesbian population is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
- Many researchers agree that drug addiction rates among the gay community are a full two to three times higher than the heterosexual population.
- Drug and alcohol use among gay adolescents is tragically high. A study asked gay teens about their drug use in the past three months. In gay male adolescents, 68% used alcohol and 44% used drugs. For adolescent lesbians, 83% had used alcohol, and 56% had used drugs.
- Over 10% of gay men admit to engaging in unprotected sex when using drugs or alcohol.
Why Gay and Lesbian Rehab is so Important
While the treatment itself may be similar those found in straight or mixed gay/straight rehab programs, there are several distinct differences to gay drug rehab, all of which are highly beneficial for the individual. They include:
- An environment free of prejudice against homosexuals or preconceived notions about the gay lifestyle.
- A chance to share stories and form strong bonds with other gay men and women struggling with addiction, issues of discrimination, relationship problems, etc. For many people, rehab is the first chance speak openly and honestly about these issues and experiences.
- Treatment from experts who understand the issues gay men and women face on a daily basis.
- Specific emphasis on drug affecting the gay community. In particular, programs have recently focused heavily on crystal meth addiction, which has seen exponential growth among gay men.
When an individual is addicted to drugs, it is easy to feel completely alone. Compound that isolation by adding the stigma many feel over their sexual preference and it can be a lethal combination. But for those who seek out help in the form of a gay or lesbian drug treatment facility, the future can look much brighter. Drug treatment geared towards the gay and lesbian community helps provide a safe place for recovery and gives the individual a support structure of their peers. If you or someone you know has a drug problem, it is essential to find professional help immediately.