The odds of substance use for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth are on average 190 percent higher than for heterosexual youth, according to a study by University of Pittsburgh researchers published in the current issue of Addiction. What's more, for some sub-populations of LGB youth, the odds were substantially higher, including 340 percent for bisexual youth and 400 percent for lesbians, researchers found.
"Homophobia, discrimination and victimization are largely what are responsible for these substance use disparities in young gay people," said Michael P. Marshal, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC, who led the study. "History shows that when marginalized groups are oppressed and do not have equal opportunities and equal rights, they suffer. Our results show that gay youth are clearly no exception."