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Preventing Substance Abuse Among LGBTQ Teens

By The Human Rights Campaign - 2015-10-29

Summary

Preventing Substance Abuse Among LGBTQ Teens helps parents, educators and professionals understand challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth.

"Above the Influence takes an affirming approach, and three separate studies have shown it to be effective in reducing substance use among teens who engage with the program."

Main Document

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation and Partnership for Drug-Free Kids released Preventing Substance Abuse Among LGBTQ Teens, an issue brief focusing on helping parents, educators and other youth-serving professionals understand the unique challenges – including bullying and family rejection - faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth that contribute to their heightened rates of substance abuse.

The publication is the first product of a new collaboration between HRC Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, and Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a national nonprofit working to reduce substance abuse among adolescents. The organizations are working together to develop content and materials for LGBTQ teens, as well as their parents and families. The resources are designed to promote understanding and provide practical guidance on protecting LGBTQ youth, along with reducing their risk of drug and alcohol abuse through better family support, safer schools and more caring adults in communities.

Among the issue brief’s recommendations to reduce the risk of substance abuse by LGBTQ youth:

Additionally, the Partnership and HRC Foundation will work together to expand the visibility and participation of LGBTQ youth in teen-targeted programming, including Above the Influence, the Partnership’s teen substance abuse prevention campaign that reaches millions nationally through social media, public service announcements and community-based activities. Above the Influence takes an affirming approach, and three separate studies have shown it to be effective in reducing substance use among teens who engage with the program. It will be featured at HRC’s Time to THRIVE annual conference for youth-serving professionals in February.

“We’re excited by this opportunity to reach the parents and families of LGBTQ kids via our online resources, our telephone helpline (855-DRUGFREE) and parent coaching program, and provide them with research-based materials that can help reduce family conflict and rejection, strengthen acceptance and lead to healthier LGBTQ youth,” said Sean Clarkin, EVP Research and External Relations at the Partnership.

“This collaboration strengthens our efforts to ensure that the unique experiences and needs of LGBTQ youth are recognized and addressed, by parents and teachers, as well as professionals who provide substance abuse prevention and treatment services,” said Ellen Kahn, Director of the Children, Youth and Families Program at the HRC Foundation. “It’s critical that higher rates of substance use among LGBTQ youth be understood and addressed in a context of understanding and support.”

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is dedicated to reducing substance abuse among adolescents by supporting families and engaging with teens. We develop public education campaigns that drive awareness of teen substance abuse, and lead teen-targeted efforts that inspire young people to make positive decisions to stay healthy and avoid drugs and alcohol. On our website, drugfree.org, and through our toll-free helpline (1-855-DRUGFREE), we provide families with direct support and guidance to help them address teen substance abuse. Finally, we build healthy communities, advocating for greater access to adolescent treatment and funding for youth prevention programs. As a national nonprofit, we depend on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and the public sector and are thankful to SAG-AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity. We are proud to receive a Four-Star rating from Charity Navigator, America's largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities, as well as a National Accredited Charity Seal from The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

To read the full issue brief, please visit http://hrc.org/teensubstanceabuse

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