This article was published on January 27th, 2022
Substance abuse and addiction are significant problems within the LGBTQ+ community, with statistics showing that members are two times more likely than heterosexual people to use illicit drugs and/or suffer from a disorder. There are many factors which contribute to these staggering numbers, and HomoCulture breaks the primary ones that queer people encounter.
Discrimination and Social Stigma
Although acceptance of LGBTQ+ people has risen sharply within the last two decades, there are still incredible hurdles faced by queer people not only from strangers, but friends and family members as well. Also impactful are issues at the workplace, bullying, and hate crimes.
Many people within the queer community suffer from internalized homophobia, and the self-loathing and uncomfortable moments that come with it can lead to negative thoughts that can wage war both mentally and physically. Taking narcotics often gives some a means to escape and temporarily enjoy their authentic selves.
Lack of Support for Queer People
Despite the strides made over the years, there is still a significant percentage of the LGBTQ+ community that continues to live in the shadows to guard their sexuality and avoid discrimination. Study after study has shown how leading a double life can lead to anxiety and isolation and many of these people turn to substances to alleviate the pain.
Case Ignites On-going Debate
A petition on Change.org has ignited the debate yet again as the parents of 20-year-old Jaxon Sales gains traction nationwide. Sales died under suspicious circumstances in San Francisco, and many are petitioning to have the case reopened to investigate the nature of his death. In only a few days, the petition has collected more than 7,000 signatures, making it one of the biggest petitions on the site this week.
The details of Sales’ death are included in the petition: on March 1, 2020, Jaxon visited an affluent area of San Francisco on a blind date, but never came home and was found nude and dead in a 41-year-old’s apartment. Later, a toxicology report showed that Sales died from an overdose that included the drug GHB, Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid, a drug commonly referred to as a date rape drug. Jaxon’s parents report they were told by the San Francisco Assistant Medical Examiner that “the gay community uses GHB” and therefore no further investigation would be conducted. The news outraged Sales’ parents and his supporters, which resulted in the petition that claims Jaxon’s death was minimized because of his sexual orientation. In the petition, Sales’ parents state:
“Jaxon never came home from that date. Every parent’s nightmare became our reality. We’ve spent the last two years devastated, paralyzed, and grieving Jaxon’s death and repeatedly asking for answers to our unanswered questions. We want the truth to what happened to Jaxon that night and to understand why he never came home.”
Locals Rally Around Petition
Many that live in the Bay Area have commented on the petition and are currently urging the SFPD and Medical Examiner’s office to do more investigation into exactly what happened to Jaxon. Real-time signatures in support of the Sales family along with comments can be found at https://www.change.org/JusticeForJaxonSales. Jim and Angie Sales are both available to speak about the petition and their campaign to force the attention of the San Francisco Police Department and the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office to reopen the investigation into Jaxon Sales’ death.
Getting Help for Substance Abuse
The LGBTQ+ community’s rate of addiction is alarming, and the obstacles these individuals face daily can contribute to a substance abuse problem. By entering a rehab clinic specializing in LGBTQ addiction and care, those that need assistance can find support and encouragement.
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction and want to explore options, contact a local treatment center in your area.