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LGBT clients face a significant dilemma: they are likely to encounter a lack of culturally relevant trained staff and specialists.  Moreover, LGBT clients may encounter a few staff members and clients who will attempt to impose their own ideological beliefs on them.  These factors contribute to the fact that only a small number of LGBT clients seek and attend treatment.

LGBT clients require equal access to treatment, which necessitates that the treatment is both culturally relevant and conducted by staff and specialists who are specifically trained to address the diverse, individual needs of LGBT clients. For example, some LGBT clients require programs that address issues related to sexual identity (i.e. feelings of guilt associated with sexual orientation), while other LGBT clients require programs that address issues related to traumatic childhood experiences.  It is important for staff and specialists to be trained to pay close attention to the individual and his or her specific needs and to not base treatment on stereotypes.

A 2007 study found that 19.6% of substance abuse counselors “did not feel adequately trained to work with LGBT clients” (Cochran, Peavy, and Cauce, 2007)[1].  Moreover, the study concludes that “treatment counselors should be made aware through continuing education programs about the LGBT issues that might be associated with treatment.” 

Please take advantage of continuing education and workshop opportunities to learn more about LGBT clients.

[1] Bryan N. Cochran PhD, K. Michelle Peavy BS & Ana Mari Cauce PhD (2007): Substance Abuse Provider’s Explicit and Implicit Attitudes Regarding Sexual Minorities, Journal of Homosexuality, 53:3, 181-207



In addition to continuing many existing projects, the Prairielands ATTC has several goals that relate to LGBT and substance use issues:

  • Develop a videotape on LGBT substance abuse, with special emphasis on prevalence and specific treatment issues.
  • Develop a national training resource and expand the existing consultation network.
  • Develop an LGBT newsletter containing news briefs and articles that will focus on LGBT substance abuse issues


 A Provider's Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals: Training Curriculum, First Edition

Based on the publication:(DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 01-3498)

The text, A Provider's Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals, First Edition,, was published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), in 2001. Thereafter, a supplemental curriculum was developed to provide practitioners and administrators familiarity and knowledge about the interaction between LGBT issues and substance use disorders. The curriculum offers skill-building knowledge enhancing practical abilities to offer sensitive, affirmative, culturally relevant, and effective treatment to LGBT individuals in substance use disorders treatment.

The training curriculum was released during the Journey Together 2007 Annual Conference provided by NAADAC and in conjunction with MTAADAC and NALGAP in Nashville, Tennesse on September 5-8, 2007.

A participant training was held at the GMLA Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 26-27, 2007.

Below is our our LGBT curriculum:

 CD Introduction


Participant Guide 1st Edition

Trainer Guide 1st Edition

 PowerPoint -- Training Modules

  1. Module 1 Overview
  2. Module 2 Cultural Issues
  3. Module 3 Legal Issues
  4. Module 4 Overview Treatment Approaches
  5. Module 5 Coming Out
  6. Module 6 Families
  7. Module 7 Lesbians
  8. Module 8 Gay Male
  9. Module 9 Bisexuals
  10. Module 10 Transgender
  11. Module 11 Youth
  12. Module 12 Health Issues
  13. Module 13 Case Ex.
  14. Module 14 Policies
  15. Module 15 Training & Education
  16. Module 16 Quality Improvement
  17. Module 17 Alliances
  18. Training Curriculum Modules 1-17
  19. Clinicians Guide
  20. Program Administrators Guide

 Additional Resources

Curriculum Guide


Sample Memo



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