Charity calls on LGBT drug and alcohol treatment to be improved

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A new report calling on drug and alcohol treatment services to be improved for the LGBT community has been published by the charity London Friend.

The Out Of Your Mind report aims to encourage commissioners and providers of drug and alcohol treatment services to be more aware of the support needs of LGBT people when planning and delivering services.

It comes after European drug experts last week warned of the risks associated with “chemsex”, or sex under the influence of drugs such as crystal meth, GHB/GBL and mephedrone amongst gay and bisexual men.

The report draws on interviews and discussions with LGBT people in treatment along with commissioners and providers of services.

It makes recommendations for Public Health England, local public health teams, drug and alcohol treatment services and front line staff.

London Friend Chief Executive Monty Moncrieff said: “Our research has found very poor representation of LGBT treatment need in local needs assessment, and our clients have told us treatment services don’t always understand the drugs they are using, or how they’re being used.

“It feels like LGBT issues are literally out of people’s minds when they plan and deliver drug and alcohol services. We hope this report will encourage better consideration of the different treatment and support needs LGBT people have.”

The report also coincides with the publication of the draft strategic framework for improving the health and wellbeing of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) by Public Health England.

A report published by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in March suggested many gay and bisexual men use drugs during sex in order to mask self-esteem or self-confidence issues.

Experts from Public Health England have previously raised concerns that chemsex could be behind rising rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in gay men, which have been increasing nationally for several years.