Addiction in the LGBTQ+ Community

June is LGBTQ Pride Month, which is an annual event that first began in 1970. Created in remembrance of the 1969 Stonewall Uprisings, this event is intended to bring attention to the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community. During Pride Month, members of the LGBTQ community and LGBTQ allies aim to educate others about these issues and the LGBTQ community in general.

Pride Month also includes many different events designed to celebrate LGBTQ cultures, such as pride parades, concerts, and parties.

Substance Abuse Trends In The LGBTQ Community

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the incidence of substance abuse within the LGBTQ community is higher than in the rest of the population. In fact, a 2015 survey determined that:

  • One in 10 LGBTQ adults misused pain relievers in the past year.
  • People who identify as members of the LGBTQ community are more than twice as likely as heterosexual people to have used an illicit drug during the past year.
  • Nearly a third of LGBTQ adults have used marijuana in the past year, which is also more than twice the rate of use among heterosexual adults.

Members of the LGBTQ community are also more likely to binge drink than heterosexual adults. Overall, members of the LGBTQ community have a higher chance of using drugs and developing a substance use disorder than the rest of the population. Based on these statistics, it is clear that substance use poses a greater risk for LGBTQ individuals. LGBTQ individuals may use any controlled or illicit substance, including heroin, cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, and others.

Issues Facing the LGBTQ Community

The higher incidence of substance abuse within the LGBTQ community may be connected to the unique issues these individuals face. Because of these challenges, individuals are more likely to turn to substance use as a distraction or a form of self-medication. Some of the difficult issues members of the LGBTQ community may encounter include:

  • Rejection from friends and family after coming out.
  • Internalized homophobia and/or self-hatred stemming from rejection by friends, family, and society in general.
  • Discrimination based on LGBTQ status.
  • Fear and/or experience of hate crimes.

LGBTQ-Friendly Treatment at Riverside Recovery of Tampa

Riverside Recovery of Tampa is an LGBTQ-friendly treatment facility that offers comprehensive services to patients with all types of addictions. Our facility offers a complete continuum of care, including drug and alcohol detox, intensive outpatient services, partial hospitalization programs, and residential treatment. Our programs incorporate a wide variety of treatment options, including both evidence-based, traditional therapies, and alternative therapies.

LGBTQ clients will find Riverside Recovery of Tampa to be a refuge where they can enjoy a safe, supportive environment at all times. The facility is staffed by professionals, many of whom have gone through the recovery process themselves. Every patient at Riverside Recovery of Tampa can expect to be treated with compassion and empathy, regardless of their background or characteristics. We offer treatment for all types of drug and alcohol addiction, including those that are complicated by a dual diagnosis. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we offer to LGBTQ patients.


National Institute on Drug Abuse – Substance Use and SUDs in LGBTQ* Populations 


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Riverside Recovery of Tampa understands all of the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and is here to support you or your loved one. Contact us today for more information.