You wouldn’t expect a grown man to wear a size x-small shirt. Obviously, it wouldn’t fit. Like the old adage, one size doesn’t fit all. We are finding this to be true for drug rehab centers also. Specifically, the LGBT community has its own set of needs that is not being addressed by your typical drug rehab center. What makes the problem even worse is that these centers claim to be able to service this community of patients. Let’s take a closer look at the needs of these patients and the services available.
Treatment must reflect the dynamics between the drug and the unique individual. A generic approach will not work. The needs of the LGBT community can be very different than the rest of the population. But most treatment centers, when it comes down to it, don’t operate this way. They employ a one size fits all that fails this community.
What makes things worse is statistics show that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals face a higher risk of becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. For instance, the gay community is 40% more likely than the general population to engage in meth use (1). They are also more likely to continue using drugs as they grow older. What contributes these numbers? The gay community uniquely faces certain challenges:
- The need to numb the pain caused by homophobia
- Reacting to public discrimination
- Trauma caused by hate crimes
Imagine being a gay man in a gay drug rehab group where less than 10% are gay. Do you think it would be hard to express what is really going on for you? Yes. Do you think it could make your situation even worse? Yes.
For LGBT teens who are trying to define their sexual identity, the risk of substance abuse is especially acute. According to the National Association of Lesbian and Gay Addiction Professionals, the following factors make adolescents vulnerable to addiction:
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of support from family or community
- Few positive role models
- A lack of positive ways to view their sexuality
Gay drug rehab for the LGBT community must focus on the issues that promote addiction in this population, such as homophobia and challenges to self-acceptance.
One center that walks the talk is La Fuente. La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center in Los Angeles has been in the forefront working with LGBT individuals, their families and loved ones struggling with addiction since 2005. It has become one of the nation’s leading gay drug rehab and treatment programs with vast experience applying effective treatment interventions that are specific to the issues of LGBT individuals (drugs of choice and accessory behavior among LGBT can be very different.)
La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center, in addition to being experts in the issues and treatment of LGBT individuals, also is the only gay drug rehab program in the Greater Los Angeles area that has spent over a decade developing and providing the immediate community integration and introduction necessary for long-term recovery.