A STUDY by Lancashire academics has found gay, lesbian and bi-sexual people are up to seven times more likely to take illegal drugs.

But research carried out by the University of Central Lancashire for The Lesbian & Gay Foundation discovered many were often unable to pinpoint support services.

The five-year analysis found the same groups were also twice as likely to binge drink.

But because of their sexual orientation, people seeking rehabilitation revealed that they often felt like ‘outsiders’.

Not only were they unable to be open about the reasons behind their substance abuse, but some felt it was difficult to ‘come out’ to heterosexual medics or colleagues.

Heather Williams, LGF policy manager, said: “Drug and alcohol use is a major public health issue, and this study shows that LGB people are disproportionately affected.

“They are more likely to drink and take drugs, and then continue this into later life.

“They are more likely to be dependent on these substances but are unable to get the support they need.

“Those who plan and deliver health services must ensure that these services are inclusive of LGB people, in order to tackle this problem.”