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The White House

Readout of Forum on Substance Misuse in the LGBTQ Community

Washington, D.C. – Today, Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli led a panel discussion on substance use disorders in the LGBTQ community at an event organized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Whitman-Walker Health and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The panel also included Tom Hill, Senior Advisor for Addiction and Recovery at SAMHSA, Earline Budd, LGBTQ rights activist and a transgender woman in recovery, and Kris Oseth, an Addiction Treatment Provider at Whitman-Walker Health

Director Botticelli spoke about the unique challenges facing LGBTQ people with substance use disorders, highlighted the compounded stigma of being both LGBTQ and struggling with substance use, and emphasized the importance of people telling their stories in order to bring visibility to these concerns. He commended recent efforts to recognize and include the LGBTQ community in discussions of substance use disorders to better address the distinct issues they face.

Each of the panelists discussed their personal recovery stories and first-hand experience working with LGBTQ people to overcome substance use issues. Mr. Hill examined barriers to treatment for LGBTQ people and helping them achieve and sustain recovery. Ms. Budd highlighted the unique challenges faced by transgender people seeking treatment and what can be done to better reach the transgender community. Mr. Oseth emphasized the effectiveness of harm reduction and how to better integrate this approach into treatment.