New Treatment Program at Betty Ford Aims to Treat LGBTQ Patients

A new program at the Betty Ford Center will provide addiction treatment designed for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LBGTQ) people.

The center, located in Rancho Mirage, California, conducted research that found more than twice as many LGBTQ patients with a substance use disorder have dealt with physical and emotional abuse, compared with their heterosexual counterparts, USA Today reports. The research also found a higher rate of chemical dependence among LGBTQ people.

The Betty Ford Center recently merged with the Hazelden Foundation, creating the nation’s largest nonprofit treatment organization, called the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

“I think we have an opportunity to offer open healing for so many people who haven’t been able to get the help they need and for so many people who struggle to get any addiction treatment as LGBT people,” said Buster Ross, LGBTQ Program Director for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

The program will include LGBTQ-specific therapy groups, individualized therapy and 12-step groups. It also includes volunteer service to let the patients connect with other sober people in their community. As part of the program, LGBTQ patients will interact with heterosexual people. “It’s equally powerful for both parties,” Ross said. “LGBTQ people in treatment need heterosexual people as much in treatment as much as heterosexual people in treatment need LGBTQ people.”