Link Gays 'seven times more likely to take illegal drugs than general population' One in five show signs of dependency on drugs or alcohol according to study by university Cannabis, 'poppers', cocaine, and ecstasy among the most widely used By Daily Mail Reporter PUBLISHED: 13:18 EST, 23 September 2012 | UPDATED: 01:50 EST, 24 September 2012 Gay people are seven times more likely to take illegal drugs than the general population, a new study conducted over two years has found. And one in five show signs of dependency on drugs or alcohol. The report, conducted by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) and the University of Central Lancashire, sampled more than 4,000 people over two years. More than a third of gay, lesbian and bisexual people took at least one illegal drug in the last month, according to the study - the largest of its kind to date. This compares to 5 per cent of the wider population who admitted using a drug in the last month in the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). According to the researchers the most widely used substances among those surveyed were party drugs such as cannabis and 'poppers' - a liquid nitrite sold in a small bottle and inhaled. These were followed by powder cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and amphetamines. The study, reported in the Independent on Sunday, found they were 10 times more likely to have used cocaine in the last month than the wider population, and 13 times more likely to have used ketamine. The use of heroin use was similar among both populations. However crack cocaine use was again higher among the gay community. David Stuart, education, training and outreach manager at London Friend, the UK's only targeted LGBT drug and alcohol service, told the paper feelings of "rejection" and "fear" as well as "shame around sex" could contribute to drug use. Kitty Richardson, 25, who runs the Most Cake, a blog for lesbians in London, said the scene had a lot to answer for. She added: 'People are very quick to label gay people as troubled, or inherently needing those crutches, but all our methods of socialising revolve around drink or drugs.' She added that this can lead to dependency. The research was carried out at Pride events, which celebrate gay, lesbian and bisexual culture, and through online and postal surveys. The research also found that whereas drug use in the general population declined with age - almost as many lesbian, gay and bisexual 36- to 40-year-olds were taking drugs as their younger counterparts. Drug counsellor Sarah Graham, from London, told the Independent on Sunday her own experiences of being subjected to homophobic bullying was a factor in her battle with addiction, which at one point saw her spending £600 a week on drugs and alcohol, such as cannabis, speed and acid, and then cocaine. She said: 'A lesbian, gay or bisexual person presenting in treatment can have specific traumas, in which workers need to be trained.'