Substance-Related Disorders

Objectives: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations exhibit elevated rates of psychiatric disorders compared to heterosexuals, and these disparities emerge early in the life course. We examined the role of exposure to early-life victimization and adversity-including physical and sexual abuse, homelessness, and intimate partner violence-in explaining sexual orientation disparities in mental health among adolescents and young adults. Methods: Data were drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Wave 3 (2001-2002), a nationally representative survey of adolescents.
Adolescents with a minority sexual orientation (e.g., lesbian, gay, and bisexual) are more likely to use substances than their heterosexual peers. This study aimed to increase understanding of the development of drug use in this vulnerable population by: 1) comparing longitudinal patterns of past-year illicit drug use (e.g., marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy) and misuse of prescription drugs among minority sexual orientation youth relative to heterosexual youth and, 2) examining how sexual orientation sub-group, gender, and age relate to variation in the risk of drug use.