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Substance Use, Youth

Data on representative samples of the adult population of the United States, U.S. states, or major U.S. metropolitan areas find that regardless of how sexual orientation is defined (whether by sexual attractions, behaviors, or identity), sexual minorities (i.e., those whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual) are at elevated risk for substance use relative to completely heterosexual same-sex peers. This occurs for tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, other illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription drugs. Sexual minorities also are at elevated risk for substance use disorders. The substance use differences between sexual minorities and heterosexuals occur in other countries. This entry presents an overview of the substance use disparities among cisgender sexual-minority youth (SMY), given insufficient data on transgender youth.

Disparities in Substance Use in Youth

The sexual orientation ...

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