Part of the Picture 2009-11 Report - Key points

Part of the Picture (POTP) aims to establish a national database of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people’s drug and alcohol use; to use the database to inform local and national policy and practice in addressing the drug and alcohol use of LGB people; and to improve knowledge and understanding of the needs of LGB people amongst drug and alcohol agencies through dissemination of the research findings.

This report presents four main findings from the first three years (2009-11) of POTP, from a total sample of 4,206 lesbian, gay and bisexual people:

Across all age groups LGB people are much more likely to use drugs compared to the general population; 35% of respondents had taken at least one substance (excluding alcohol) in the last month. Drug use is common across all age groups, especially up to the age of 40.

Problematic patterns of drinking are much more common among LGB people. Binge drinking is high across all genders, sexual orientations and age groups, with 34% of males and 29% of females reporting binge drinking at least once or twice a week.

LGB people demonstrate a higher likelihood of being substance dependent and show high levels of substance-dependency Over a fifth of the sample scored as dependent on a substance, and a further quarter showed at least one indicator of dependency.

Significant barriers exist to seeking information, advice or help among LGB people. Almost a third of respondents had sought information, advice or help about their substance use.  The reasons given for not having sought information, advice or help indicate that LGB people are experiencing barriers both in relation to recognising they may have a substance problem which needs attention, and in accessing services where they feel comfortable and confident in the services provided.

For more information on Part of the Picture, email

Published: 03/10/2012
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