Substance Use Disorder and LBGTQ+ People; Assessing the Impact of Compounded Stigma and Treatment Considerations for this Population

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Substance Use Disorder and LBGTQ+ People; Assessing the Impact of Compounded Stigma and Treatment Considerations for this Population

August 15 @ 1:00 pm 4:00 pm CDT

Substance use is a complex issue that affects individuals from all walks of life, including the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, members of this community often face unique challenges when it comes to seeking help for addiction. Stigma, shame, and a lack of family support can all make it difficult for LGBTQ individuals to access the resources they need to overcome substance use disorders. Additionally, growing anti-LBGTQ legislation can further exacerbate these issues, creating a hostile environment for individuals who are struggling with addiction.

As a service provider, it is important to approach these issues with sensitivity and compassion. Ethical considerations must be considered when providing services to LBGTQ individuals, and it is critical to create an organization that is welcoming and accepting. This means actively working to reduce stigma and creating a safe and supportive environment for those who are seeking help.

Recovery is a key component of addiction treatment, and it is important to understand how it fits into the LGBTQ community. While abstinence-based recovery programs may work for some individuals, harm-reduction strategies may be more appropriate for others. SAMSHA defines recovery as: “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” By tailoring treatment to the needs of LBGTQ individuals, we can ensure that everyone has access to the resources they need to achieve lasting recovery.


Participants will be able to

  • Educate SUD providers on the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals with substance use disorder.
  • Increase awareness of the compounded stigma and discrimination these individuals may experience.
  • Provide guidance on how to provide effective and culturally competent treatment for this population.


Darla Belflower, MSW, LCSW, CPS, has worked in leadership in the substance use disorder and behavioral health fields for over three decades. She has a passion for teaching others what she has learned in those years. She is Vice Chair of the KC Recovery Coalition, serves on the board of the MO Coalition of Recovery Support Providers and is a member of The MO Department of Mental Health State Advisory Council. She is a LCSW, LAC, CRAADC, CPS, CTTS, and HRS, obtained her MSW from the KU, and has a BS in Psychology and Alcohol and Drug Studies from MO Valley College. Darla is a person in recovery and author of the book, “I Am Not Anonymous.”



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