Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gay Teens and Drug Abuse

Though overall usage rates have decreased in recent years, drug and alcohol abuse among teenagers remains a cause for concern in the United States. The problem is particularly acute among certain high-risk demographic groups – one of which is comprised of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) teens.

A study by Dr. Michael P. Marshal of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center revealed that LGBT teens are 190 percent more likely to use drugs and alcohol than are heterosexual teens, and that the usage rate is even higher among certain subgroups. For example, Marshal’s study, which was published in the April 2008 edition of the journal Addiction, documented that the prevalence of drug or alcohol use among bisexual youth is 340 percent greater than the rate among straight teens. Among lesbian youth, the number rises to 400 percent.

LAMBDA, an advocacy association dedicated to improving the quality of life of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, says the effects of pressure and discrimination are not limited to alcohol and drug use. In the Youth Outreach section of its website, LAMBDA reports the following:

•A 1999 study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than are heterosexual teens.
•According to this same DHHS study, 30 percent of successful teen suicides are by gay, lesbian, or bisexual youths.
•An estimated 40 percent of street kids – many of whom turn to prostitution or other abusive situations after running away or being thrown out of their homes – are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
•Researchers have reported that more than one in four LGBT youth have severe drug or alcohol problems.

Cleabrook Treatment Centers understand the increased social pressure gay teens may face, especially when it come to drug and alcohol abuse. Clearbrook Treatment Centers established the Clearbrook Lodge to help combat adolescent drug use and abuse. Established specifically for adolescents, this 46-bed inpatient rehabilitation center is the beginning of what must be a continued effort to maintain a lifestyle and lifetime of sobriety. The 12 steps of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous are an integral part of the patient community’s daily activities and efforts.

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