New research suggests gay people in England and Wales are seven times more likely to take illegal drugs than the general population, with one in five of those surveyed showing signs of drugs or alcohol dependency.
The Independent reports the Crime Survey for England and Wales as showing that more than a third of LGBT people took at least one illegal drug in the last month compared to 5% of the wider population.
The study, conducted by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation and the University of Central Lancashire, sampled more than 4,000 people over two years and warns that there is “significant problematic” substance use among the LGBT community.
The most widely used substances among those surveyed were party drugs such as cannabis and poppers, followed by powder cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and amphetamines.
LGBT people were 10 times more likely to have used cocaine in the last month, and 13 times more likely to have used ketamine.
Heroin use was comparable among both populations, but the use of crack cocaine was again higher in the gay community.
David Stuart, outreach manager at London Friend, the UK’s only targeted LGBT drug and alcohol service, told the Independent that feelings of “rejection” and “fear” as well as “shame around sex” could help explain the high rates of drug use.
Earlier this month, several drug support services in Bristol were awarded thousands of pounds worth of grant funding in order to help tackle the use of “non-traditional” drugs in the city’s gay community and among young people generally.