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New Study Says Being Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Are Risk Factors For Misuse Of Opioids

A new research study finds that being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is a risk indicator for misuse of opioids.

Opioids are a class of drugs that range from heroin to prescription drugs like oxycodone, morphine, and more.

Researchers working at New York University’s School of Medicine conducted a study that was recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine under the title, "Sexual Orientation Disparities in Prescription Opioid Misuse Among U.S. Adults."

The study found it’s data through information provided by the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. On top of other things, the 42,802 respondents were asked questions about their sexual orientation, misuses of opioids (meaning unprescribed used), and prescribed use of opioids.

Using the opioid specific data, the scientists at NYU framed their study around the relation of sexual orientation to opioid use.

The results found that 5 percent of self-identified straight respondents misused opioids in the year before that survey. Meanwhile, 9 percent of gay and lesbian individuals admitted to the same. Then, 12 percent of bisexual respondents also misused opioids in that year.

In addition, only 1 percent of straight-identified respondents used opioids at all in the month before the survey. Then, 4 percent of bisexual respondents said the same.

Plus, the study found that women who identify as bisexual were twice as likely to misuse opioids than any other group. Researchers believe the potential reason for this is that opioids are used to cope from the stress and stigma around being bisexual in both the straight and gay/lesbian worlds.

As the study explains:

"Our study highlights that adults of sexual minority status -- particularly women identifying as bisexual -- are at increased risk for opioid misuse," said senior study author Joseph J. Palamar. "With the opioid crisis escalating nationwide, it is important to focus on preventing misuse among groups at highest risk."

The paper also added:

"Primary care providers, educators, and even parents should consider sexual orientation when assessing those at risk of opioid misuse," said Dustin T. Duncan, lead author of the study. "Not only do we need to consider sexual orientation as a risk factor, but we also need to monitor these groups more closely once they've been identified."

h/t: Deccan Chronicle