Written by Ben Maina Friday, 02 March 2012 00:00
A drug is any substance which when introduced into the body will alter the normal functioning of the body and eventually destroy the productive life of the abuser (social, physical, mental and spiritual).
Poly-Substance Abuse - occurs when a person abuses several substances in a relatively short period of time. Using multiple substances is often an attempt to enhance the effect of a single drug to achieve a higher high. Studies indicate that, when compared with the mainstream population, LGBT persons are more likely to use drugs, have higher rates of substance abuse.
They are more likely to continue drug abuse into later life and heterosexisms (a prejudice similar to racism and sexism that denies, ignores, denigrates, or stigmatizes any non-heterosexual form of emotional and affectional expression, sexual activity, behavior, relationship, or socially identified community) play a major role.
Some of the causes of drug abuse are:-stress, poor self esteem, poor interpersonal relationships, culture, curiosity, dysfunctional families and many more. Although LGBT persons use and abuse all types of drugs, certain drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, bhang, miraa and narcotics seem to be more popular in the Kenya LGBT community than in the main stream.
There is an urgent need to rethink how addiction agencies and doctors support minority group in Kenya and Africa. It’s unfortunate when an LGBT individual who is an addict is denied admittance or even kicked out of a rehabilitation center just because of his/her sexual orientation. It’s a double tragic for an LGBT individual when one has to struggle with sexuality and addiction.
LGBT individuals in their day-to-day lives, working in regular offices, have very little access to `gay lifestyle` other than in evenings, which are focused around bars and clubs – and clubbers are more likely to take drugs. In fact, substance use is a large part of the social life of many in the LGBT community. The gay bar scene is regarded as a risk factor for substance abuse among the gay community. But these bars have often been the only places where LGBT folks can socialize and feel free from the prevailing oppression that is experienced every day in a strongly heterosexist society.
If healthy alternatives to the bar and club scene were available, we would see fewer LGBT individuals drinking, smoking and drug-taking.
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