Launch of All Partied OUT? Research Report

The Rainbow Project will today (30th March) launch a major report on the use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes within Northern Ireland’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGB&T) community. Although research in other countries suggests that the use of these substances is particularly high among LGB&T people, this is the first study on the issue in Northern Ireland. Funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA), the findings are based on a survey of 941 LGB&T people as well as interviews and focus groups. Key findings of All Partied OUT? include:


  • LGB&T people are nearly three times as likely as the Northern Ireland population as a whole to have taken an illegal drug in their lifetime (62% v 22%).
  • The main drugs that LGB&T people take are those associated with stress-relief (such as cannabis, sedatives and anti-depressants) rather than the nightclub scene (such as ecstasy). For example within the last month 4% of LGB&T people have taken ecstasy and 17% have taken anti-depressants.


  • 91% of LGB&T people drink alcohol compared to 74% of the Northern Ireland population as a whole.
  • Of those who drink, LGB&T people are approximately twice as likely to drink daily or most days (13% v 6%) compared to the Northern Ireland average.
  • In the Northern Ireland population men are more likely than women to drink alcohol (78% v 72%) and drink daily or most days (8% v 5%). However the reverse is the case in the LGB&T community in which women are more likely than men to drink alcohol (93% v 89%) and drink daily or most days (14% v 12%).


  • 44% of LGB&T people smoke cigarettes compared to 24% of the Northern Ireland population.

The report author, Eoin Rooney, stated “higher use of these substances among LGB&T people is not entirely surprising. Disadvantaged groups tend to use alcohol, drugs and cigarettes more than others and the LGB&T community is one of the most stigmatised in Northern Ireland”.

The report recommends that drug and alcohol service providers receive training in LGB&T issues and that public health campaigns on substance abuse target the LGB&T community. 

Speaking at the launch of this report, Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, PHA, said: “The Public Health Agency was set up to promote and enhance the factors that influence good health and wellbeing and to reduce the avoidable and unjust differences in health experienced by the best and the worst-off in our society.  We know that the LGB&T community, like other disadvantaged groups, has a higher incidence of smoking and substance misuse, all of which are likely to have a substantial, negative impact on their physical and mental health.

“We are pleased that this PHA funded research will provide a valuable source of evidence, not only to inform future awareness-raising work, but also to promote positive lifestyle choices among this key group.”

Notes to Editors

  • The report will be launched at the Black Box (Belfast) at 2pm on Friday 30th March. All media are welcome to attend.
  • The full report can be viewed here.
  • For further information please contact:

Malachai O’Hara

Eoin Rooney

The Rainbow Project
T: 90319030

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