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Homeless and Addiction

Homeless and Addiction


Homelessness and Addiction: Overview

A lot of the times the homeless populations gets stereotyped as being alcoholics or addicts. The truth is this is not always the case. While many people because they struggle with addiction and alcoholism are homeless, the addiction should be viewed as a disease not as lack of motivation or work ethic. Addiction is both a cause of homelessness and a result of homelessness. That means that addiction can cause someone to become homeless or becoming homeless could cause someone to begin using drugs and drinking.

Addiction is often the cause of homelessness.  The disease of addiction usually disrupts family relationships and relationships with friends. Addiction also causes many people to lose their jobs. For most people who are already struggling to make ends meet, addiction may exacerbate all their resources and cause them to lose their house.

There are situations where becoming homeless results in addiction. People who are homeless are more apt to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their situation. These people use substances in an attempt to find temporary relief from the pain of their problems; such as being homeless. The reality of the situation though, is that addiction is only making their situation of being homeless worse not better and it decreases their ability of finding and job and then being able to get off the streets.

Homelessness and Addiction: Statistics

SAMSHA estimates that 38% of homeless people were dependent on alcohol and 26% abused other drugs. Addiction is much more common among the homeless population rather than the general population. According to NSDUH (National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health), 15% of people above the age of 12 reported using drugs within the past year and only 8% reported using drugs within the past month.

Homelessness and Addiction: Breaking the cycle

Recovering from an addiction is difficult for anyone suffering from it. Recovering from an addiction is especially hard for those who are homeless. To start off with, those who are homeless and have an addiction most likely are poor. This means that they cannot afford the necessary treatment, medications, or therapy to help themselves stop using drugs. Not only that but for many people who are homeless with addictions survival is more important than person growth and development. Finding food and shelter take a higher priority then getting help for addiction. Not only that but those who are homeless with addictions tend to lose touch with their family and friends and without a support network it can be hard for someone with an addiction to get help they need. Then even if someone who is homeless does get the help they need for their addiction they are still without a place to go and have a high chance of relapsing because of that. Not just that but any addict struggling to recover from addiction has a high chance of relapse and ending right back where they were before.

Homelessness and addiction are two issues that go hand in hand. Being able to help with both is the way to combat both. Usually you cannot try to just treat the addiction or just try to give an addict a home. They need help with recovering from their addiction and they also need a safe place to rest their head at night.

If you or someone you know needs treatment for Alcohol or Drug Addiction please call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at

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