New initiative aims to make substance abuse treatment more LGBT-friendly

The LGBTQ community is more likely to use substances than the general population, so one of the largest substance abuse treatment centers wants to make things easier.

Nick Hamblin one of the first people you see when you walk in the door or the first voices you hear when you call in to book an appointment.

"I get to be the welcoming face. I get to make sure that I bring people in, in a way they feel comfortable," Hamblin said. 

He works at one of the largest providers of substance abuse treatment in Colorado. 

"As a member of the community and as a person in recovery, I want to make sure the place that I work reflects the needs of the people that are like me," Hamblin said.  

Now, Arapahoe House will.

It just launched a new initiative to make sure it's more welcoming to LGBTQ people looking for help. This community is 20 to 30 percent more likely to use substances than the general population.

Nearly 6 years into recovery, Hamblin knows it can be a lonely road. 

"If I'm afraid that where I'm going to walk in isn't going to be accepting of me, that's going to add another barrier and another layer of stigma to an already such a stigmatized population," he said.

"This population often turns to substances as a coping for everyday messaging about not being included and not being welcomed in this world," said Samantha Field.  

Field is the primary therapist in charge of the new initiative. 

"We know being in treatment for recovery or seeking support for recovery is hard enough, we want to be part of their healing process," she said. 

The initiative makes sure staff, program development, policies and procedures, and facilities are all gender inclusive. 

"By that, I mean having a staff that was trained on using correct names and pronouns and bathrooms that were gender inclusive," Field said. 

"'I want people that come here to know that we will treat them with respect, that they will get what they need here so they can get the treatment that they need," Hamblin said.

Along with his friendly face. 

"We are making the difference I want to see in the world," Hamblin said. "So that just really gives me hope." 

If you are part of the LGBTQ community looking for help, you can call  303.412.3787 or email gethelp@ahinc.org.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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