Transgender Teens More Likely To Use Cocaine, Meth, Engage In Illicit Prescription Drug Use
A new study found that transgender teenagers have higher rates of prescription and illicit drug abuse compared to other adolescents.
Moreover, the research, which was published in the Journal of School Health, revealed that transgender adolescents were 2.5 times more likely than others to use methamphetamine and cocaine in their lifetimes, and two times as likely to engage in illicit prescription drug use.
The results were part of an analysis of the 2013-2015 California Health Kids Survey, a state survey of grade school students, which looked at recent, in-school and lifetime abuse of drugs and alcohol among nearly 4,800 transgender students and 630,200 non-transgender students.
Lead author Kris T. De Pedro, assistant professor of educational studies at Chapman University told NBCNews that it is actually discrimination, however, that causes increased substance use, not being transgender:
“When it comes to transgender teens, it’s the transphobia that impacts [their drug use], not being transgender.”
“In order to reduce the likelihood of a kid to resort to drugs as a means to cope, there has to be some sort of social support mechanism.”
The study also revealed that transgender adolescents were nearly three times as likely to report the use of an inhalant (huffing) over the past 30 days and were over three times as likely to smoke cigarettes in school.
The study authors concluded:
“The study’s findings indicate a need for community- and school-based interventions that reduce substance use among transgender youth.”
Persons who are transgender self-identify with a gender that is different from their biological sex birth assignment. Past research has shown that transgender adolescents may experience a wide array of health and well-being issues included increased rates of depression, suicidality, risky sexual behavior, and self-mutilation.
When compared to non-transgender students, they also report elevated rates of physical victimization, harassment, cyberbullying, and less support from school staff and peers.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology