Transgender Youths are at High Risk of Substance Abuse

Risk and protective factors for transgender youths’ substance use

In Summary

A recent study has revealed that transgender youth in high-risk situations are likely to abuse illicit drugs. A survey found that 69% of the transgender’s teens who responded had abused at least one illicit drug, not including alcohol. It was also found that support and education from school, family, and friends greatly reduced the likelihood of a transgender teen abusing drugs. The researchers of this study call for greater education and support for transgender youth by including a transgender-specific health section in school curriculums, added support from family, and greater education from pediatricians. 

Brought up in this study is the prevalence of substance use among sexual and gender minority youth; members of the LGBTQ+ community. This finding is interesting because studies have reported that overall youth substance abuse has declined over the past decade. Youth who identify as LGBTQ+ experience extra pressure from their peers and society because of the stigma they still face, leading to dangerous activity such as substance abuse. Health classes rarely include non-heteronormative education which further alienates those youth and unless physicians and educational boards insist on the implementation of diversified sexual-health education these minorities will continue to face excess pressure and participate in dangerous activities.  

The study is available for review or download here

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Benjamin Caplan, MDTransgender Youths are at High Risk of Substance Abuse