alcohol abuse among LGBTQ population

COVID-19 Pandemic Causing Spike in Alcohol Abuse, Especially Within LGBTQ Population

It’s no surprise that ongoing social distancing, mask usage and restrictions to numerous activities we all used to enjoy is driving people to drink more. But several recent studies suggest this spike in alcohol abuse may be hitting the LGBTQ population particularly hard.

In a study conducted at the University of Michigan, researchers found one-third of queer men reported a significant increase in both substance abuse and binge-drinking as a result of COVID-19. Another study of LGBTQ college students reported that 32% of those polled were also drinking more since the pandemic began.

Of course, “drinking increased among the wider population during the pandemic, too, but at a lower rate compared to the LGBTQ community,” reported Finbarr Toesland of NBC News. “Research published in September [2020] found that the frequency of alcohol consumption in the general population since the pandemic started grew by 14% above pre-pandemic levels.”

This figure meshes with data from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which recently found that as many as 13% of U.S. adults had begun using “alcohol, legal or illegal drugs, or prescription drugs” in order to cope with pandemic-related stress or emotions.

Despite that alarming trend among the general public, statistics suggest the increase in alcohol abuse among LGBTQ individuals remains substantially higher, according to the University of Maryland’s John Salerno. 

“We found that those that reported an increase in alcohol use were more likely to suffer from greater psychological distress compared to those that did not report an increase in alcohol use,” he told NBC in an interview.

Salerno and his colleges attribute the increase in drinking among many LGBTQ individuals to a loss of social support, the potential impact of having to move back home due to COVID-19, plus the added stress of harassment and violence that many individuals face, especially in rural or less-populated areas. 

And the problem sadly isn’t new. Even before the time of COVID-19, research already showed that LGBTQ men and women were more likely to develop an alcohol addiction of some type when compared to their heterosexual peers.


Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.


Latest News

Southern Company Commits $700,000 To Advance Racial Equity and Social Justice for the AAPI Community

Originally published at Southern Company ranked No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   The Southern Company Gas Charitable Foundation is announcing plans to donate $700,000 across its service territories to charities in support of improving equity and social justice. On the six-month…

Oak Park, Illinois

Illinois Professor Suspended, Charged with Hate Crime After Allegedly Spitting on Black Woman and Using Racial Slur

An Illinois professor has been suspended from his job and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly spat on and racially attacked a Black female driver in a suburban Chicago grocery store parking lot earlier this month. Antonio Planas of NBC News has reported that Alberto Friedmann, a professor…

Joaquin Castro

New Research Shows a Continued Lack of Hispanic and Latinx Representation in Movies, Media and Publishing

In a bit of disheartening news in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month, a new government study has confirmed that Latinx individuals are vastly under-included and underrepresented in many parts of the media world. Astrid Galvan of the Associated Press reported on the study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office,…

Newberg, Oregon

Oregon School Employee Suspended for Showing Up to Work in Blackface To Protest State Vaccination Policies

Racial controversies continue to mount at the Newberg Public School system located in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. Last week, students in the district’s high school conducted a mock “slave auction” on social media in which they ridiculed fellow classmates and discussed how much they would or wouldn’t pay to…