Poverty’s Influence on Drug Use

Posted in Drug Addiction

People who abuse drugs may be very rich, very poor or anywhere in between. Nonetheless, socio-economic standing does appear to have an influence on the prevalence and character of drug use and abuse. Living in poverty can influence the way drug use develops and progresses. Atlanta residents struggling with drug addiction and poverty should seek professional treatment.

What Atlanta Residents Should Know about Poverty and Drug Abuse Rates

There is evidence that people living in poverty are more likely to use drugs. The National Poverty Center issued a policy brief in 2004 that provided estimates for percentages of people receiving welfare who used various kinds of drugs versus those who did not receive welfare. Using data provided by the National Household Survey of Drug Abuse, 21% of those on welfare were users of illegal drugs, versus 13% of those who were not on welfare. Those on welfare were also dependent on alcohol at a higher rate, 9%, versus only 5% for those not on welfare.

Because poverty and drug use are both complex problems, it’s difficult to find clear patterns of one causing the other. This same study, for instance, estimated that 19% of welfare recipients had some kind of psychiatric disorder while only 13% of those not on welfare had a psychiatric disorder. These statistics point to the possibility of other factors, such as psychiatric disorders among Atlanta residents, independently making both poverty and drug use more likely.

Psychological Influence on Poverty and Drug Use

The stresses of life in poverty may create psychological conditions that promote drug use among Atlanta residents. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology found that adolescents and young adult have a reduced capacity for self-control if they were subjected to household financial stresses during childhood. Self-control can be help individuals turn away from drug use before an addiction develops.

Actual rates of marijuana use, however, were about the same among those with both impoverished and more well off backgrounds. Binge drinking, however, was actually a bigger problem for those from wealthy homes than those from poverty.

Depression is considered a risk factor for drug use. A 2011 Gallup poll asked Americans if they had been diagnosed with depression. Among those living in poverty, 31% said they had been diagnosed with depression versus fewer than 16% of those living above the poverty line. This elevated rate of depression may drive a higher rate of drug use among those in poverty.

Finding Quality Addiction Treatment for Atlanta Residents in Poverty

A 2010 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) looked at the need for addiction treatment among people living in poverty. Health insurance can cover the cost of addiction treatment, but over 30% of those living in poverty had no health insurance coverage.

Medicaid, a federal and state program that provides health coverage to the poor, does cover addiction treatment that often carries restrictions. For example, according to a 2013 report from The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), all three of most popular drugs used to treat addiction to opiates (buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone) are treatment options for Medicaid recipients in only 28 of the 50 states. Restrictions and limitations like this limit the treatment approaches available to those in

Overcoming Drug Abuse

If you are struggling with poverty and drug use, call our toll-free helpline to learn about treatment and recovery options. Addiction coordinators are ready to speak to you 24 hours a day.