Home > Drug service for LGBT young people.

Dillon, Lucy (2016) Drug service for LGBT young people. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 58, Summer 2016,

External website: http://hrb.newsweaver.ie/drugnet/12fp2ko86hp?a=1&p...

BeLonG To has been the national youth service for LGBT young people since 2003. The organisation ‘envisions a future in which LGBT young people are safe and supported in their families, schools and communities, and all young people are equally cared for, valued, and respected’ (personal communication, Gerard Roe, Drug Education and Outreach Worker, Belong To, April 2016). With the support of the North Inner City Drugs Task Force, BeLonG To set up a Drug & Alcohol Service in late 2007. It was established in response to a national study of drug use among LGBT young adults in Ireland.1 It continues to be the only designated LGBT drug service in the country.

The service follows the model of harm reduction with an emphasis on support, awareness-raising, education and empowerment. It aims to address concerns LGBT young people may have about drug or alcohol use and offers them the opportunity to access support in a dedicated ‘safe’ LGBT youth space. As outlined on its website, the drug service:

  • supports young LGBT people in relation to issues of alcohol and drug use in a non-judgemental and confidential manner;
  • delivers outreach work to young LGBT drug users to make people aware that the service is there and where to find it;
  • carries out education, information and prevention work with the young LGBT community to raise awareness around issues to do with drug and alcohol use in the community;
  • provides information and training on LGBT issues for mainstream drug services to support services in making their space safe for LGBT service users; and
  • refers young LGBT to specialised agencies and services to enable them to access safe and positive support.

BeLonG To also advocates for changes in national policy. In October 2015 it made a written and an oral submission to the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality in its review of Ireland’s approach to the possession of limited quantities of certain drugs, advocating for a change in the legislation in favour of decriminalising drug possession for personal use.2 In November 2015 some of BeLonG To’s service users made a presentation at CityWide’s 20th anniversary conference.3

BeLongTo’s drug service can be contacted at drugsoutreach@belongto.org or on (01) 670 6223.


1 Sarma K (2007) Drug use amongst lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young adults in Ireland. Dublin: BeLonG To Youth Service. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/6202/

2http://www.belongto.org/attachments/250_Submission_to_Department_of_Justice,_Defence_and_Equality.pdf; Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality (2015) Submissions on drugs review: discussion. Committee Debates, 14 October. http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates%20Authoring/DebatesWebPack.nsf/committeetakes/JUJ2015101400001?opendocument

3 http://www.citywide.ie/publications/listing/belong-to-young-people-presentation/

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