Essay: Poverty and Substance Abuse Addiction a Risk for Homelessness

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¶ … dedicated towards the link between poverty and drug abuse. In the contemporary America, there are conflicting views on the various causes and link between drug abuse and poverty. There are various factors that have been reported to be the high level of drug abuse among the poor on rural America. Poverty is among them. The other factors include unemployment and isolation in the rural areas. The consequences of drug abuse include the dealing in drug, driving under the influence, public misconduct, assault and various forms of robberies. There are also cases of poor performance in schools and various forms of complications such as at work. The drug induced cases of drug abuse are due to the fact that the addicts are in need of cash to use in buying of the drugs. This is because the use of drugs is an extremely bad habit with serious financial implications. In various countries, the abuse of drugs has a strong connection with the individual's social class. The high number is recorded among the middle and upper class. The main factor is lack of money. The use of drugs is marked with a lot of violence. The users are usually assaulted by the dealers as a result of the money owed while there are also cases of the users assaulting and even killing the dealer in order to steal the drugs. For quite a while the issue of substance abuse has been perceived to be a problem of persons residing in the inner cities of America and other countries. Recent studies indicate that the problem is now a problem in most rural areas as well as towns of various sizes. Various metropolises are now filled with persons of all ages who are active drug users. Despite the fact that the problem of drug abuse is common in various communities, the smaller ones lack adequate resources to be used in addressing this societal woe.

Our literature review has been categorized into various sections.

Deprivation

Studies have shown that persons who are most likely to become substance abusers are those who ail from the margins of our society. The existence of both social and economic marginalization in the society has for a long time been floated to be a key factor in the development of substance abuse in the society. Other forms of marginalization include but not limited to disinfection from centers of learning, work, family circles and various forms of recreational activities. It is indeed true that a large number of drug users may at one point experienced these above mentioned challenges. The opposite has also been shown not to be true. Persons who are marginalized both politically and economically have been shown not to become problematic substance abusers automatically. Neale (2002) pointed out clearly that various forms of societal sub-groupings are more susceptible to the various forms of risk factors in the development of drug induced poverty. These sub-groups include the homeless, school drop outs and persons who are serving or have served in various penitentiary and mental facilities

It was however suggested by Spooner (2005) that the social environment in which individuals coexists is a very important factor in influencing the societal health and its possible outcomes. This is to suggest that the use of drugs in the society is as a result of an intricate in interaction between the persons who live in any given society and the environment itself in which they reside. It is therefore true that the various institutions and structures of our society are very important parameters in influencing the substance abuse in the society and various other societal issues. Among these structures are elements of government policy and various systems used by the government in taxing its citizens.

Various studies have been dedicated in exploring the various causes of substance abuse in our contemporary society.

It has been shown that persons from various societal backgrounds and classes are involved in the bad habit of drug use as a result of various factors. Some indulge in substances in search of pleasure; others take drugs as a therapy against emotional and physical pain. Others do it in order to alleviate anxiety and to reduce stress. And yet others do it a result of peer pressure and influence. The initial link between drug abuse and societal exclusion was documented in the United States some time ago in the period after the World War. These periods were marked with the initial disturbances that came as a result of the shocks caused by the de-industrialization. A number studies that were being conducted by various scholars shown that poverty coupled with decay in various inner cities of America were the key culprits in the development of heroin epidemics that were being experienced in the 1950s and the 60s.The main cities in which the studies were conducted were New York and Chicago. Other cities were also included in this category. Poverty was again cited as a major cause of the crack epidemics in the 1980s.The crack epidemics was experienced across several U.S. cities. As study be Parker et al. (1986) shown that the average prevalence rate of users of heroin across Wirral was about 18.2 out of every 1000 among persons of the age bracket 16-24. There was however, a marked spread among various districts between 0-162 per a thousand persons.

The variations that were recorded in the geographic prevalence were found to be highly interrelated with about seven indicators which marked various deprivations in terms of the individual's backgrounds. These levels included rate of unemployment, tenancies of the council, larger family size, unskilled employment, overcrowding, single parenthood and lack of access to a car by the family. In yet another study conducted by one Dr. Gruer.He used 33715 drug related incidences of emergency admissions at Glasgow for the period of 1991 up to 1996. He plotted the various drug related admissions by means of postcodes while utilizing the standard index of deprivation (ACMD, 1998). His findings categorically pointed out that the rate of admission from the areas that were most depraved were more than those from the least deprived regions.The factors of deprivation was 30. His study meant that in case the admission rate from the least depraved regions was to be mapped across the entire city then the number of admissions would be about 92% lower. His study clearly indicated that there is a strong correlation between the level of deprivation and substance abuse.

As to the causes of drug abuse among the homeless, it was shown that there is a very strong correlation between the various levels of deprivation and the problems that are associated with drug abuse. It is indeed agreed that the link is never simple (ACMD,1998). Studies have indicated that deprivation itself does not cause drug addiction. It however leads to the aggravation of the level of misuse. This is because it leads to a weakening of what is referred to as the protective factors while strengthening the risk factors at the same time. It is indeed true that the causes of deprivation can be termed to be extensively social in nature .It is a fact that not everyone in a poor neighborhood would automatically be dependent on drugs (Young, 2002).

As pointed out by Buchanan (2004) 'socially constructed phenomenon that

has less to do with individual choice or physical dependence, and much more to do with the structural disadvantages, limited opportunities, alternatives and resources'.It is therefore important to take into consideration various key factors in the process of coming up with appropriate intervention and prevention techniques. As corroborated by Buchanan, it is true that not all individuals who are depraved will proceed to develop problems of drug abuse. His argument is that in comparison to the larger population, the substance abusers were marked to have had incidences of difficulty in their childhood

The existence of both psychological and physical health problems have been identified to be key factors in the initiation and triggering of various cases of drug abuse. They have been noted to be both triggers and consequences of substance abuse. The issues of psychological problems were note to be prevalent among persons who used alcohol. Other factors that were noted included eroded social networks, residing in adverse social settings, homelessness and the lack of confidence and motivation in resisting the process of addiction. These were noted as the major barriers between the addicts and their recovery process. These acted negatively on their endeavors to get employment (Cebulla et al., 2004)

There is a relationship that exists between the issue of drug abuse and homelessness. The link between homelessness and alcohol/drug addition is in deed a subject of much controversy. The homeless person makes up a large part of people who suffer from the bad effects of persons with addictive disorders. It is however appropriate to categorically point out that not all drug and alcohol addicts eventually become homeless. The persons who have to balance their low income between supporting their addictive behavior… [END OF PREVIEW]

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