People who identity as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning (LGBTQ) often face social, discriminatory, harassing, or violent challenges that are not encountered by heterosexual-identified individuals. In addition, LGBTQ people have a greater likelihood of developing a substance use disorder (SUD) in their lifetime and will often enter into a treatment program with more severe SUDs than their heterosexual, cis-gender counterparts. Furthermore, lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults are at least twice as likely to have used an illicit substance in the last year and lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents also reported higher rates of substance use compared to heterosexual adolescents.
OASAS is committed to ensuring the equitable treatment of LGBTQ people who are in need of or are accessing addiction prevention, treatment, and/or recovery services. As such, OASAS-certified treatment programs around the state offer common evidence-based modalities for individuals who identify as LGBTQ, such as motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, and social support therapy. Furthermore, OASAS recognizes the importance of addressing issues of homophobia, transphobia, familial issues, violence/harassment, and social isolation with these individuals while in treatment and to do so in a culturally competent and affirming manner.
In December of 2017 OASAS issued a guidance to all OASAS-certified programs to require LGBTQ affirming policies including, ensuring LGBTQ affirming service delivery is incorporated into the Patient Bill of Rights and program policies and procedures and identifying an LGBTQ liaison in the program to monitor compliance and serve as a resource for clients and staff of the program.