June is Pride Month in many parts of North America, in acknowledgement Canada Drug Rehab wants to make it easier for LGBT Canadians to find LGBT specific addiction treatment for drugs, alcohol, or other substance abuse issues. While we are all human, members of the LGBT community are under more external pressures due to a heteronormative society and can be more susceptible to drug and alcohol use. Here we will discuss why some in the addiction field believe it is important to have LGBT specific addiction treatment in Canada, and how to access LGBT-friendly drug rehab or alcohol treatment programs whether you are in Toronto, Vancouver, or anywhere in between.
The Case for LGBT Specific Drug, Alcohol, and Substance Abuse Treatment in Canada
There are many reasons people choose to start using illicit substances, and keep using substances. Stress, anxiety, trauma, peer use, mental illness are some of the many reasons both LGBT and straight people use drugs and alcohol. However, there are some LGBT specific pressures that can add to the reasons why LGBT people use substances 2 to 4 times the rate of the rest of the population. Homosexuality was illegal in Canada until 1969 and even after many LGBT people were not welcome in a lot of places. Underground gay and lesbian bars were some of the only places LGBT people could socialize, and this bar-centric culture has continued to today. A lack of non-bar queer space makes it hard for LGBT people trying to get sober and remain in their communities. Another umbrella reason for high rates of use is the lack of acceptance by families, friends, and society at large. Having to live a lie weighs heavily and coping with stigma and/or trauma once coming out can be a large trigger.
Due to these and other reasons, some addiction professionals believe there is a need for readily available LGBT specific addiction treatment in Canada. While most counselors should already be sensitive to these issues, LGBT people do not know what to expect showing up to an outpatient group meeting and may feel very uncomfortable sharing personal details. Rainbow Health Ontario recommends that health care providers offer tailored services including trans specific, include chosen family members in the process, and get training if they are unsure how to provide the best care. Of course it all depends on the individual. Many LGBT people are completely comfortable with their sexuality, and those struggling with substances may not feel they need LGBT specific addiction treatment. However, if you would prefer LGBT centered drug and alcohol treatment, Canada Drug Rehab has an entire section dedicated to it here.
How to Access LGBT Specific Addiction Treatment in Canada
There are some LGBT specific addiction treatment centres in Canada, outpatient and inpatient, but they can be hard to find. If you live in Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston or anywhere in Ontario, connect with Rainbow Health here to access their addiction services directory.
British Columbia has a few specific LGBT service points, mostly in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, and Victoria, and these outpatient offices can direct people to counselors and programs that are LGBT focused/friendly.
However, the best place to find LGBT friendly drug and alcohol rehab and resources is right here in the specialized programs section of Canada Drug Rehab. BC, Manitoba, and Ontario are well represented and if you are from another province looking for LGBT specific addiction treatment in Canada contact our specialist here for assistance.
- Rainbow Health Ontario: LGBTQ People, Drug Use & Harm Reduction
- Here To Help BC: Substance Use in Queer and Trans Communities
- Canada Drug Rehab: GLBTQ Alcohol & Drug Programs