We had a lot more time on our hands during lockdown. The bars were closed, we couldn’t really see our friends (unless we lived with them) and the closest we got to a pub was pouring a pint at home. When it comes to drugs, particularly sex and party drugs, the lack of clubs and socially distancing rules meant that opportunities to take them were less. However, did this actually stop us from drinking less and taking less drugs during lockdown?

LGBT HERO, the Health Equality and Rights Organisation, conducted a survey of 2,333 LGBTQ+ people to ask about their lockdown habits.

WE ASKED: How often have you been drinking alcohol since lockdown began?

  • Never / I don’t drink alcohol – 30%
  • Less than once a month – 19%
  • A few times a week – 18%
  • About once a week – 12%
  • A few times a month – 11%
  • Every day – 6%
  • Once a month – 4%

Have you been drinking more or less than usual since lockdown began?

  • Same as usual – 51%
  • More -27%
  • Less – 22%

While some people have seen an increase of their alcohol intake during the lockdown period, what about drugs? And what drugs have been most used during the pandemic?

WE ASKED: How often have you taken drugs since lockdown began?

  • Never – 87%
  • Less than once a month – 4%
  • Every day – 3%
  • A few times a week – 3%
  • A few times a month – 2%
  • Once a month – 2%
  • About once a week – 1%

If you have been taking drugs, what kind?

  • Cannabis – 66%
  • Other – 29%
  • Cocaine – 10%
  • Ecstasy – 6%
  • Other psychedelics – 5%
  • Ketamine – 4%
  • Crystal meth – 4%
  • LSD – 4%
  • GHB – 3%
  • Heroin – 3%
  • Mephedrone – 2%

Have you taken more or less drugs since lockdown began?

  • Same as usual – 72%
  • Less – 21%
  • More – 7%

When it comes to drug taking, especially when it comes to ‘sex’ drugs like G and Crystal Meth, aren’t always solo pursuits, which can be an issue in a pandemic. What can someone do to reduce their risk of contracting the Coronavirus and keep others safe in these circumstances?

“It’s weird having spent so many years empowering gay and bi men to feel good about themselves and the sex they choose to have to now be saying don’t do it,” Monty Moncrieff, the Chief Executive of charity London Friend tells us, “but this is the reality we’re in just now. It’s important we limit contact with people we don’t live with, so the simple advice is don’t hook up – stay home and have a wank.”

“It’s easier said than done though, I know. Try to remember that we’re all in the same boat, and that this is just a temporary restriction. It will end, and we will be able to hook-up and have sex again. Try to find other activities, and plan ahead for the times you might be more tempted to use. “

Ian Howley, the CEO of LGBT HERO, agrees: “We are all in the same boat and need to do our bit. The sooner this is over the sooner we can get back to normality. However, we know from history that shaming those who partake in sexual activities during a crisis (HIV and AIDS) is not helpful. It pushes people further underground and leads to self-esteem and self-worth issues. So yes, let’s all collectively talk about this as a community but if you know someone is hooking up do not personally shame them. We do not know why they are continuing to engage in sexual activity, and you might be doing more damage in the long run. The messages should be about suggesting alternatives and peer-led solutions. For instance, Jamie HP Events provides an online naked cam session for gay and bi men. Although this is not a direct replacement for the real thing, it’s innovations like this that can help many men through this.”

For drug and alcohol support visit London Friend - 020 7833 1674 (10am-6pm, Monday to Friday)

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