Homelessness is one of the most critical issues aroused in the United States of America. The number of homeless people is continuously increasing, creating a severe threat to a country’s general well-being. Mosites et al. claim that The year 2017 became a turning point in the USA’s history because the number of persons experiencing homelessness (PEH) was over 550,000 (1). According to Eiseman (14), intense psychological pressure is the critical cause of drug addiction. Thus, being under an unstable emotional state because of not having shelter, people start using drugs that play a detrimental role in homeless people’s lives. The problem of substance abuse disorders in the homeless community can be solved. To that end, the US Government must provide mental and medical support to homeless drug addicts.
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The issues of drug addiction and homelessness are intimately connected. Drug-taking behavior is usually provoked by various intra- and extra- forces (Eiseman et al. 5). The examples of intra forces would be emotional instability and psychological disorders, while problems in a family or workplace are examples of extra forces (Eiseman et al. 5). The loss of shelter is one of the critical factors that lead to substance use disorders. Generally, two theories explain the linkage of drug addiction and homelessness. They are developing drug-taking behavior due to the loss of shelter and the loss of the house due to substance use disorders progress.
According to the first theory, the drug-taking behavior develops as a result of the loss of accommodation. Being incapable of resisting the obstacles caused by the loss of housing, people start taking drugs, hoping to release their sufferings. However, instead of the feeling of relief, drug takers become highly vulnerable to mental and physical diseases. Moreover, Zwarenshtein offers a practical explanation of drug-taking while being homeless. The author claims that “Stimulants, for example, may help people to stay awake at night when it is most unsafe to be unaware of one’s surroundings” (par. 23). Besides, certain kinds of drugs provide short-term comfort and reduce coldness (Zwarenshtein par. 23). Hence, there is an impressive number of cases when drug-taking behavior becomes a cause of accommodation loss.
In the second theory, substance disorder abuse is viewed as a reason for the loss of shelter. Being involved in the complex net of drugs, people become incapable of taking control of their lifestyles, fund management, relationships with family members, and friends. Psychotropic substances have numerous adverse ramifications on people’s quality of life. Zwarenshtein explains that the drug-taking may lead to instances of being kicked off the house by parents or a spouse or being fired from the job (par. 24). Receiving a lousy recommendation from the employer, the drug takers are incapable of earning money for living and eventually become homeless. Therefore, substance disorder abuse may become a primary reason for the loss of shelter.
Regardless of the circumstances that lead the addict to homelessness, drugs have adverse effects on the majority of life aspects. Firstly, the homeless drug takers have numerous psychological disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe anxiety, etc. (Eiseman 42). Since mental health plays a crucial role in people’s general well-being, drug addicts are incapable of living a fulfilled life. Secondly, substance disorder abuse negatively influences the socio-cultural aspect of life. According to Zwarenshtein, drugs cause “the weakening of people’s social and institutional connections such as belonging to a church, having a network of friends, or having work and business relationships” (par. 18). Thus, the drug-taking behavior has an impressive number of negative consequences on the vulnerable group – homeless addicts. It has a disruptive effect on human beings’ physical and mental health and negatively influences the social and cultural aspects of life.
Since the issue of drug abuse has numerous adverse effects, the solution to the problem should be implemented immediately. Rather than finding out why psychotropic substances use causes homelessness or why homelessness leads to drug addiction, the question should be examined from a broader perspective. The elimination of factors that cause substance use disorder and homelessness is a useful method of dealing with drug abuse in the homeless community. The primary cause of the problem is “politics that hurt people’s ability to afford daily needs, secure steady employment, afford rent, be part of a stable rather than transient community, and enter rental housing market” (Zwarenshtein par. 47). Therefore, the issue of drug addiction among homeless people should be solved from the roots – the government’s lack of assistance. By preventing the new cases of homelessness and substance use disorders and helping people on the streets, the government can solve the problem effectively and in a short time frame.
Firstly, the federal authorities should stabilize the current political situation and minimize the risks of home loss. Being predisposed to numerous financial difficulties, sometimes people are incapable of covering all their expenses. As a result, they get into an intricate net of business operations that lead to money debts. The worldwide crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most suitable examples of political instability within a country. Experiencing financial problems and suffering from psychological pressure caused by the threat of being infected, people became extremely vulnerable. As a result, the number of drug addicts increased during the spring of 2020 (Bukszpan par. 23). Therefore, the government’s primary aim is to ensure the financial stability of every citizen. It can be reached by opening new opportunities for employment, expanding the range of people to receive subsidies, increasing the unemployment benefits, maternity benefits, disability benefits, pensions, etc. Improving living conditions in the country will help reduce the number of people suffering from drug addiction and decrease homelessness rates. Thus, the stabilization of the country’s political situation is a powerful tool for preventing massive substance disorder abuse among the homeless.
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Secondly, the government should focus on providing psychological and mental support to the current homeless drug addicts on the streets. People who have lost their homes and use psychotropic substances are incredibly vulnerable to physical and mental diseases. Consequently, they seek help from specialists to improve their health conditions. The primary duty of the government is to provide support to people who need it. Hence, the launching of new campaigns and the establishment of organizations that would monitor homeless drug addicts’ mental and physical health is crucial in solving the problem.
A bright example of the organization helping people deal with drug addiction was established during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. According to Bukszpan, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have cooperated to partner with the non-profit Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) (par. 1). As a result of this partnership, an online platform Tech Together was launched to help people with substance use disorders during the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic (Bukszpan par.1). The principal aim of Tech Together is to provide psychological support to the drug addicts and spread awareness among the population through hashtags, likes, comments, and reposts in social media. As a result of launching this online platform, “between early March and late April 2020, Rehab.com had seen a 393% increase in treatment seekers” (Bukszpan par. 23). Hence, the organizations assisting drug addicts are a useful tool for overcoming the problem.
Although Tech Together is designed to deal with drug addiction during the pandemic, the organization’s concept is exceptionally successful. According to Bukszpan (par. 23), the number of drug addicts received help increase by 393% during the spring of 2020. This impressive statistic proves the effectiveness of the organization. Therefore, the government has to encourage the establishment of similar associations that would focus on dealing with homelessness alongside drug addiction. Since Tech Together was developed to help people during social distancing and lockdown, it offers help through messengers, social media, and online communication. In the case of substance use disorders and homelessness, the support should be provided to the vulnerable group directly on the streets. Thus, the groups of medical workers and psychologists have to interact with homeless drug addicts directly and provide them with medical and psychological support. By leaving the concept of Tech Together but changing the operation principles, the government can launch a new powerful organization what would significantly contribute to the solving of homeless drug addicts issue.
Drug addiction and homelessness are two overlapping problems. Therefore, the solution to the issue should be involved, with all the causes of substance use disorders and homelessness being taken into consideration. The negotiation of the homelessness and drug addiction rates is the primary responsibility of the government. Consequently, the country authorities should deal with the problem in two steps. The first step is to stabilizing the inner political situation to prevent new cases of home loss and drug addiction. The second step is the assistance of the current homeless drug addicts on the streets by establishing the organizations focused on psychological and medical support. The adverse ramifications of substance use disorders accompanied by homelessness should not be underestimated. Thus, the government should put maximum effort into resolving the problem.
Bukszpan, Daniel. “Google, Facebook, Twitter Team Up to Support Addiction Recovery During Pandemic.” CNBC, 2020, Web.
Eiseman, Seymour et al. Drug abuse: Foundation for a psychosocial approach. Routledge, 2019.
Mosites, Emily, et al. “Risk for Invasive Streptococcal Infections among Adults Experiencing Homelessness, Anchorage, Alaska, USA.” Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 25, no. 10, 2019.
Zwarenshtein, Carlyn. “The Mischaracterized Relationship Between Drug Use and Homelessness.” Filter, 2020, Web.