October 22, 2016
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Dismal Numbers Of Substance Abuse Facilities Offer Programs For Gays

A new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveals that only 777 of 13,688 (6 percent) substance abuse treatment facilities surveyed across the nation offer special programs for gay and lesbian clients.

Released in conjunction with Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, the study also shows that the availability of these specialized programs tends to vary according to two main characteristics of facilities – whether they are privately or publicly owned, and their primary focus of treatment.

Privately run treatment facilities, particularly “for-profit” facilities are more likely to offer special Gay and Lesbian programs than federal government run facilities. Privately run for profit treatment programs, for example, are more than two times as likely as federal facilities to offer these programs (7.0 percent versus 2.6 percent). Among state government run facilities 5.5 percent offered specialized services for gays and lesbians, while 5.8 percent of private non-profit run facilities offered these kinds of services.

Similarly, substance abuse treatment facilities whose primary focus is treating a mix of substance use and mental health issues are more likely than other types of treatment facilities to provide special programs for gay and lesbian clients. For example, facilities with a mixed substance use and mental health focus were more than twice as likely to offer programs for gays and lesbians than facilities with a primary focus of general health care (7.1 percent versus 2.3 percent).

“People in substance abuse treatment come from diverse backgrounds and benefit from programs designed to meet their particular needs,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “The treatment community needs to work with all segments of our society to ensure that Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people, as well as, members of other underserved groups are afforded more opportunities for this kind of specialized care.”

The study, Substance Abuse Treatment Programs for Gays and Lesbians, was developed as part of the agency’s strategic initiative on data, outcomes, and quality – an effort to inform policy makers and service providers on the nature and scope of behavioral health issues. The study is based on the 2008 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services which surveys substance abuse treatment facilities across the U.S.

A copy of the study can be obtained at:http://oas.samhsa.gov/spotlight/Spotlight004GayLesbians.pdf. For related publications and information, visithttp://www.samhsa.gov/.

SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities


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