British Study Claims Illegal Drug Use Seven Times Higher Among Gays

A two-year study by England’s Lesbian and Gay Foundation and the University of Central Lancashire reveals that gays are seven times more likely to take illegal drugs, with one in five of the over 4,000 people surveyed showing signs of drug or alcohol dependency.

The study, the largest of its kind, found 35% of gay, lesbian and bisexual people took at least one illegal drug in the last month, compared to 5% of the wider population, as reported by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).

According to The Independent:

The most widely used substances among those surveyed were party drugs such as cannabis and poppers, followed by powder cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and amphetamines. They were 10 times more likely to have used cocaine in the last month than the wider population, 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 among the gay community.

David Stuart, education, training and outreach manager at London Friend, the UK’s only targeted LGBT drug and alcohol service, said feelings of “rejection” and “fear” as well as “shame around sex” could be factors leading to substance abuse. He added that drug services “aren’t equipped” to deal with the shifting drug trends, noting that “while government funding is linked to crime prevention and drugs like crack and heroin, less than 2 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual people use these drugs.”

Research was conducted via Pride events and online and postal surveys. Although it skewed to a younger age demographic than the CSEW, the report also found that lesbian, gay and bisexual people age 36 to 40 years old were as likely to use drugs as their younger counterparts.

LGF’s policy and research co-ordinator, Heather Williams told The Independent, “This should be a wake-up call for people working with the community and for policy makers commissioning services at a local and national level.”

You can read the full report here.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #druguse #england #gaydruguse stories and more


  • Little-Kiwi

    Well, from a purely psychological standpoint that would make complete and utter sense.

    Gay people are still born into a world and culture that is predisposed to prejudice against them. We’re born into The Closet – a lie we realize we need to tell at an early age. Most gay people are born into anti-gay or gay-ignorant homes and communities. Most gay people deal with incredible feelings of shame and embarrassment about being gay, and after they come out (if at all) are met with prejudice, bigotry and anger from the people who should have been there to love and support them; namely family.

    So, yeah – what a shocking news story: “People who’ve heard and experienced hatred and prejudice against themselves for as long as they can remember, the majority of whom are disowned and shunned by their own families, are seeking solace and escape in illicit drugs.”

    Duh. Trust – these numbers will go down as society moves away from being bigoted.

  • RomanHans

    Okay, here’s the straight dope.

    On page 10 of the report — http://ripassetseu.s3.amazonaws.com/www.lgf.org.uk/_files/documents/sep_12/FENT__1346671826_10584_POTP_2009-11_ReportFINAL.pdf — you can see the age groups of the gay group as compared to the presumedly straight control group. The gay group has twice as many people in the 16-24, 25-29, and 30-34 age groups than the straight group.

    In the control group, the largest subsection was 60+, making up 22% of the group. In the gay group, the largest subsection was 26-24.

    Gosh, then, let’s see which group takes more drugs! Whaddaya know — gay kids smoke more weed than GRANDMA.

    Nicely, these people note that this is problematic. On page 11 they note that the gay sample is much younger and whiter than the general population, and say “Care … needs to be taken when making comparisons [with] the population of England as whole.”

    On page 12 they say, “Making comparisons between the drug use reported [by the gays] and that reported by the general population is not straightforward because the [gay] sample is younger by comparison.”


    Bullshit. Pure and utter bullshit.

  • Little-Kiwi

    they should do a report about how the vast majority of Canadians are cannabis users…. and magically have lower levels of violent crime.

  • viveutvivas

    @Little Kiwi, you are concentrating too much on rejection by the straight world. In my opinion, that is but a small part of the problem. Even otherwise out gay men who are accepted and embraced by family and friends use more drugs. Why? Because the gay community itself is a very hostile environment. Your body is never good enough. Your face is never good enough. You are not young enough, or lean enough, or muscular enough. You are not rich or successful enough. You’re not in with the in-crowd. It’s a miracle anybody is happy, even in the gay meccas. A really hot guy I met recently told me that when he moved to New York, he basically spent the first two years crying a lot. Nobody would give him the time of day.

  • Little-Kiwi

    just because you’re Out doesn’t mean you’ve “completed” your journey toward self-acceptance, nor does it mean you’re not still carrying that baggage of growing up in an anti-gay culture.

    see also: insecure gay men who call themselves “straight-acting”

    your friend who moved to NYC is an idiot. as are you from your comments, and here’s why:

    not muscular enough? not lean enough? you know what you’re doing, dude? you’re being shallow and focusing on chelseaboy hotties. it may stun you that there are “bears” who dont’ care about muscles or being lean. or being young.

    what “in crowd”? You mean the guys you’re attracted to who ignore you the same way you ignore other guys like yourself? is that what you meant? that you look at one group, and think they’re hot, but you don’t look like them and therefore feel “left out” even though by your own admission you dont’ look at guys that look like you either?

    even your asinine comments reinforce MINE – just because you’re Out doesn’t mean you’ve checked your baggage and given yourself a clean slate. gym addiction and caring about aesthetics are also indicative of the pressures of a Pre-Out Life: you spend one part of your life trying to Be Something to others, and then keep on doing it after Coming Out, which is not really much progress – you go from struggling to impress one group to struggling to impress another.

    i lived in NYC for four years and still spend months there every year. if you’re a gay man in NYC and can’t find “your people” to hang out with it says NOTHING about “other gays” and everything about yourself. truly.

    wow. a really hot guy went to NYC and spent the first two years crying? good. maybe now he’ll realize that “being hot” isn’t going to make himself happy.

    i’m by no means some rad-rockin sexy adonis and i had the exact opposite experience of your “friend” – not only did people give me the time of day, i made incredible friends, i had incredible lovers, i had the greatest experiences.

    and i’m by no means a conventional hottie. what i am, however, is an adult who takes responsibility for his own life and chooses whom i associate with based on something other than looks.

    it seems you and your friend haven’t learned that yet.

    the gay community is not a hostile environment. the gay community is what you make of it, and what you bring to it. it seems you and your buddy suffer from Confirmation Bias. good luck with that.

    this message is for you:


  • Little-Kiwi

    if you care about the opinions of vapid shallow idiots then you’re an even more shallow and even more vapid idiot than them.

    what you’re doing is being a whiner who lusts after a boy and then feels “rejected” because he’s not reciprocating. how is HE the shallow one? if you weren’t just as shallow you’d not be basing your sense of self-worth on HIM – and you only care about him because you find him attractive.

    congrats. you just got served.

  • viveutvivas

    @Little Kiwi, your hostile response is an excellent example of the gay-on-gay hostility that makes the gay “community” an unfriendly place for many gay people to be in.

    You making many assumptions about me. I ignore nobody, I am not a body fascist, and I would be thrilled to find someone who looks like me. (I look pretty good, by the way.) I have “my people” who are an important part of my life, but I am an introvert, which makes it incredibly difficult to meet new people, or dates. The gay world does not embrace shy people with open arms, I can assure you.

    I agree that all the reasons I listed before as to why gays are hostile to gays are shallow. That was my point. Wherever you go is full of shallow people who reject or ignore you for shallow reasons. On this we agree, but I don’t understand how you get from that to blaming the victim, namely accusing the person being ignored (or who simply hasn’t had good luck meeting “his people”) through no fault of his own, of being shallow, as you are doing. If someone feels demoralized or lonely as a result of bad experiences in the gay world, that just makes him a human being – calling him shallow for actually having feelings is way harsh of you.

  • Little-Kiwi

    blah blah blah, said the whiner.

    he is shallow. there are only two possible reasons: either he’s not as attractive as he thought he was, or he’s attractive but INCREDIBLY boring.

    either way, why was he crying? because the people he sought out (for shallow reasons) didn’t give him the time of day, for similarly shallow reasons?

    what nonsense. i’m no model. how, then, was i able to have the most incredibly amazing gay life in NYC? simple – i’m NOT shallow. i’m discerning. i hang out with people with similar interests. we tend not to base our friendships on aesthetics.

    your friend clearly doesn’t have the brains to do this.

    the “gay community does not embrace shy people”? what the f**k does that even mean? do you mean that it’s hard for you to go to bars and clubs because you’re shy? because, dude, there’s a LOT more to the Community than bars or clubs.

    are you saying the “straight world” (?) embraces shy people? that straights find it easy to date if they’re shy? You’re blaming “the gay community” for the fact that you can’t date or meet friends? what evasive B.S. it’s your own fault for not overcoming your shyness. JEEZ> nobody wants to hang out with an insecure person. gay or straight.

    and there’s more to the community than bars.

    i’d know. i’m an active participant and i don’t drink alcohol.

    your friend is responsible for his own misery. he’s not shallow for having feelings – he’s shallow for wanting the approval of people he finds hot who deny that approval because they don’t find HIM hot. or interesting.

    your “friend” is never going to enjoy life until he wakes up. the problem is not “other gays” or “the gay community” – the problem is HIM.

  • viveutvivas

    Jeez, Little Kiwi, you are an unpleasant piece of work.

    Thanks though, for providing an excellent example of the point I was trying to make. Many gays are driven to drugs by the sheer unpleasantness of other gays.

    I’ll take your advice, though, and not care about your vapid opinions. Cheers mate…

  • Little-Kiwi

    and when it comes to “meeting your people” – there is no luck. you have to get off your @ss and seek them out. i’d know. i’ve done it. i still do it.

    you can’t sit around alone complaining that “you’re shy” and “the gay community doesn’t embrace shy people”

    nobody wants to hang out with an insecure person who sits at home blaming everyone else for their own inability to go out, and seek out, what makes them happy.

    i was bored with my life in my midtwenties. i got off my butt and went out to seek and find and LIVE my life on my own terms. the sooner you and your “friend” accept that you make your own life happen, the better.

    the longer you blame “the gay community” the longer you’re gonna be alone and miserable.

    bears don’t complain that aberzombies don’t look at them. aberzombies don’t complain that bears don’t want them.

    gay nerds. gay punks. gay thugs. gay preps. gay jocks. gay geeks. gay hipsters. gay twinks. gay muscleboys. gay leather daddies. gay artists. and on and on.

    whenever a gay man says “oh, gays are so shallow, they only care about having the perfect body and blah blah blah” what that person is actually saying is “I only look at one type of guy, and i don’t look like them, and they’re shallow for not liking me even though i’m even more shallow for not looking at guys like me either”

  • Little-Kiwi

    got it. so you can keep sitting int he dark and blaming everyone else for your inability to make your own happiness.

    see how well that works for you.

    here’s the thing – your life is miserable and you can’t find friends and dates.

    my life is the exact opposite.

    clearly, if i was wrong my life wouldn’t be so freakin’ awesome.

    so, how well is “your way” working for you so far, sugar? ;-)

    E X A C T L Y

  • Little-Kiwi

    oh, and just so we’re clear honeybun – you’re saying gay men are driven to drugs because of “unpleasant gays” like me who bluntly tell them to suck it up, stop being so shallow, and get off their butts to make their own life and their own happiness? got it. hilarious.

    yes. i’m SO unpleasant. unpleasantly telling people to stop caring about unpleasant people and to go seek their own happiness. mhmmm sugar ;)

  • Jim Hlavac

    Since no one knows how many gay people there are, there’s no way to know what percentage of us are anything, either drug users or left handed, church goers or wear glasses. There’s no base line from which to start the assumptions. If the percentage is 1%, that yields a different number than if the percentage of the population is gay is 5% — all these studies are mush. Hell, these counters don’t even have a definition of what is gay, or who is, or where they are. Ah, mush.

  • PTBoat

    Let me guess, they went to the “gay ghetto,” amongst college aged kids, and to bars? That’s the usual sample. Where do they find most gay men? Do they stand outside of Costco, or Home Depot, and ask every man if he’s gay and would like to participate in a study? Seriously. We do grow up.

  • fagburn

    This “survey” is unscientific junk – it’s also over a month old.
    How is it “news”?

  • Freddie27

    Little Kiwi, viveutvivas came on here making a perfectly valid point about certain segments of the gay community being very closed, introverted, shallow and cruel, and that perhaps gay men seeking validation might enter into an unhealthy party lifestyle that includes heavy drug use and general self-destructive behaviour. It is something that I and most of my gay friends have seen and might account for higher drug use, though I share others’ concerns about the disproportionate number of young gays questioned as opposed to the elderly heterosexuals in this study. In response you textbook demonstrated this cruelty with the condescending, arrogant, vituperative ad hominem attacks you launched on viveutvivas. He is far from alone in his opinions, even if your experience in NYC was something out of the Wizard of Oz. He did not slander the entire gay community and indeed made pains to emphasise that this problem affected only a subculture of the LGBT community. You, however, called him and his friend “losers”, “wimps” and even “liars”. You labelled his comments “asinine” and were generally rude and despicable to someone who never attacked you. I’m getting really tired and fed up of the arrogant and bullying attitude you display to anyone who dissents from your views on both Queerty and Towleroad. I must admit I enjoy it when you take the gay kapos (GOProud) down a peg, but you come across as a schoolyard bully in many of your attacks. No-one here wants to read your insufferably arrogant comments about how great your life is! Whoop-dee-fuckin’-do, do you want a medal? A trophy, perhaps? You can be a right arrogant, condescending bully sometimes and it really grates on me. As people who know what bullying and cruel comments can do, you should really know better.


    Freddie Shuffrey (London) – so you can’t claim I’m anonymous.

Comments are closed.