A UK study has found that gay people, especially gay men, are considerably more likely to take illicit drugs compared to heterosexual people.

The latest UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) report concludes that the British government needs to look at the unique needs and challenges faced by minorities when it comes to drug abuse.

Referencing the recent British Crime Survey, which estimated that last year 33% of gay or bisexual people took drugs compared to 10% of straight people, the report also found that the gay community is often an early adopter of new kind of drugs and illicit substances.

“Recreational’ drug use is comparatively high among LGBT groups, so they may use new drugs and experience associated problems before they are widespread in the general population,” said UKDP.

The report further found that LGBT people may be at more risk of misusing other drugs, such as steroids and Viagra, and that use of some types of drugs may be associated with risky behaviour, including exposure to HIV infection.

The Commission called for special services for LGBT people to be developed in a range of mainstream drug services settings to reach those with drug problems.

It suggested that different approaches to prevention, including “focusing on community venues, networks and resources, such as internet sites” and “using of innovative social media approaches”, may be more effective at changing drug using behaviour among LGBT groups.

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