Addiction treatment professionals are often woefully unprepared to care for patients in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, an expert said this week at the New York Society of Addiction Medicine annual meeting.
“Surveys of people in the LGBTQ community who have gone to treatment programs for alcohol or drug addiction find while some programs are very sensitive to their needs, too often they are not,” said Penelope P. Ziegler, MD, Medical Director and Chief Executive Officer of Professionals Resource Network in Fernandina Beach, Florida. “Too often we hear, ‘They put me in a private room because they didn’t know what I would do to my roommate. They treated me like a sex offender. Other patients made homophobic comments and it wasn’t even addressed.’”
LGBTQ patients who have these experiences find it extremely hard to get effective treatment, Dr. Ziegler noted. “Many go out of treatment and relapse. The situation is better than it was, but we still haven’t made nearly as much progress as we need to.”