LGBQ Teens More Likely to Use Hard Drugs Than Straight Teens

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It’s no secret that teens are often pressured into taking drugs — but LGBQ teens are much more likely to try the hard stuff.

A study published to the American Journal of Public Health by San Diego State University polled 15,624 American high school students about their drug use and found that LGBQ teens were more likely to have used 14 out of 15 of the substances featured in the study, according to Attitude.

These substances were alcohol, cigarettes, cigars, vape, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, marijuana, synthetic marijuana, methamphetamine, steroids, and prescription drugs.

In every category of substance, the study revealed LGBQ teens were more likely to have done the drug. LGBQ teens were 6.6 percent more likely to try heroin compared to their straight peers at 1.3 percent. Hallucinogens also showed a stark contrast, at 12.3 percent compared to 5.5 percent. Ecstasy was 10.8 compared to 4.1 and methamphetamine was 8.6 to 2.1.

"There have been some indications that LGBQ teens face increased substance use risks,” said SDSU School of Public Health professor and study co-author John W. Ayers, “but our study shows for the first time that the problem goes far beyond alcohol and tobacco, including the hardest most dangerous drugs.”

Co-author and LGBQ health researcher at the University of California in San Diego Laramie Smith added, “Our findings highlight the need for accepting LGBQ teens, as stigma may be playing a role in elevating their substance use risk or prevent those from needing help to speak up.”


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