Recommendations

The following are some recommendations for improving substance abuse treatment for LGBT clients.

1. Improve knowledge among staff members about the laws affecting LGBT individuals with substance abuse histories. These include:

a. Federal and State antidiscrimination laws protecting individuals with disabilities that apply to alcoholics and individuals with histories of drug abuse

b. Federal and State antidiscrimination laws protecting individuals with disabilities that apply to individuals with HIV/AIDS

c. Federal confidentiality laws and regulations

d. State laws protecting HIV-related information

e. State and local laws that apply to LGBT individuals.

2. Ensure that staff members respect LGBT clients by:

a. Establishing written job descriptions that require treatment of all clients without regard to their sexual orientation

b. Screening out job applicants who express overt bias

c. Establishing clear, written program policies requiring equal treatment of clients without regard to their sexual orientation and enforcing program policy through a disciplinary process

d. Providing staff members with training to increase their awareness of and sensitivity to LGBT issues

e. Establishing a procedure for clients to complain about bias.

3. Ensure that clients respect LGBT individuals by:

a. Establishing program rules requiring respect for clients without regard to their race, gender, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation

b. Providing clients with education and information about LGBT individuals

c. Establishing grievance procedures for clients wishing to lodge complaints

d. Enforcing program rules promptly.

4. Ensure that LGBT staff and clients are safe while attending the program by:

a. Establishing personnel policies prohibiting harassment in the workplace, including harassment of LGBT staff by other staff and sexual harassment by persons of the same or a different gender

b. Informing clients at admission that the program does not tolerate sexual harassment or sexual overtures or activities by persons of the same or a different gender

c. Enforcing the rules promptly

d. Establishing grievance procedures for both staff and clients who may wish to complain about harassment and responding promptly to complaints.