Methamphetamine treatment options for LGBTI people: A review of the evidence

Stream: Drugs: Experiences of drug use, prevention and treatment across different populations
Date: Thursday, 31 March 2016
Time: 11.15 am – 1.00 pm


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people typically report higher rates of methamphetamine use compared to non-LGBTI people. The contexts and motivations for methamphetamine use may also differ considerably between LGBTI and non-LGBTI people, as well as within LGBTI communities. While most LGBTI people who use methamphetamine do not develop problems from their use, some people may need support in managing, reducing or ceasing methamphetamine use. However, treatment options for methamphetamine are limited, and psychosocial interventions such as cognitive behaviour therapy are currently regarded as the most effective treatments. While people experiencing problems with methamphetamine use are often difficult to engage and retain in treatment, LGBTI people may experience additional barriers to treatment, including fear of discrimination from service providers and perceptions that services will have inadequate knowledge of LGBTI issues.

This review paper will: (i) describe methamphetamine treatment options for LGBTI people in Australia, (ii) describe LGBTI people’s experiences of and preferences for treatment, (iii) examine whether treatment outcomes differ between LGBTI and non-LGBTI people in controlled studies, and (iv) examine whether LGBTI people experience improved treatment outcomes when services are culturally tailored to their needs.

This review will focus largely on international research due to the relative absence of Australian research in this area. The findings of this paper may help to improve responses to methamphetamine use among LGBTI people in Australia.


Toby Lea (Presenter), Centre for Social Research in Health
Dr Toby Lea is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Research in Health. His research is focused primarily on alcohol and other drug use and blood-borne virus prevention among gay and bisexual men.