There is a long-held belief that drug addiction and poverty are inextricably linked. It is more difficult to believe that someone who does not have a job or has a low income can afford the cost of addiction. In some cases, addiction causes poverty rather than poverty causing addiction. However, the relationship between drug addiction and poverty is more complicated.
Economic Conditions of Drug Addiction and Poverty
It is critical to remember that people who are addicted to drugs do not develop an addiction simply because they are poor. But, as a result of an untreated drug or alcohol addiction, someone in the middle class can easily slip into poverty. As addiction progresses, it becomes more likely that a person will have difficulty performing at work. This could include arriving late, missing shifts, failing to meet project deadlines, or arguing with coworkers. This can eventually lead to job loss.
Being fired for poor performance will make it more difficult to find another job. This increases the person’s overall stress level and provides an incentive to engage in criminal activity to fund continued substance abuse.
Risk Factors for Addiction Increased By Poverty
Financial difficulties increase a person’s risk of becoming drug-addicted in several ways:
Poverty exacerbates stress: Stress has long been identified as a risk factor for substance abuse and relapse after treatment. Worrying about how to afford shelter, food, and other necessities cause a lot of stress. When you’re struggling to make ends meet, it’s easy to turn to drugs or alcohol to temporarily escape your problems.
Poverty exacerbates feelings of hopelessness: When it is difficult to meet daily expenses, dreams of attending college, purchasing a home, starting a business, or traveling the world appear implausible. Feeling powerless over your future makes you more vulnerable to substance abuse.
Poverty lowers one’s self-esteem: Being poor can feel like a moral failing in a culture that values material possessions and financial success. This can result in feelings of guilt, shame, and low self-esteem. According to Psychology Today, people who struggle with low self-esteem are more likely to become drug addicts.
Poverty reduces social support: Friends and family’s emotional support can help people cope with difficult situations in their lives. On the other hand, lower-income adults are less likely to have strong social support networks simply because they expend all of their energy on surviving from day today. According to a UCLA survey, lower-income adults are less likely to be married, even though they value marriage just as much as their higher-income counterparts.
Finding Solutions to Poverty and Drug Addiction
With any poverty issue, jobs would aid in breaking the link between drug addiction and poverty. People seek meaning in their lives, and having a reason to get up every day and earn their own money can make them feel valued. Jobs can also help people get out of impoverished areas where drug use is prevalent. Jobs that provide people with the opportunity to rise above the poverty line must be created.
People seek meaning in their lives; courses that teach life skills and self-actualization, and hobbies can help people find meaning in their lives. Of course, education is a great way to help people get out of poverty; however, this can only happen in solid families. When you look at poverty-stricken areas, you will notice that many people come from single-parent homes. Having strong family role models who encourage their children to attend school can help build the next generation of people who will lift themselves out of poverty. There is no quick fix; it begins with a generation that can lay the groundwork for the next generation.