There is a strong correlation between poverty and substance abuse. The lack of opportunity for those who live in poverty leads to a life of drug addiction instead of idealistic goals. Low-income earners are often frustrated and stressed with life, and as such, they see substance as a good solace to their woes. In the USA, 13.5% of the total population are poor and have a high propensity to addiction (Mangum, Stephen, Andrew and Levitan 3). Poverty is mainly as a result of low incomes and lifestyles that do not encourage savings and investments. The commonly abused drugs in the USA are alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs such as cocaine and marijuana. The various substances abused by the people have different health effects on both the drug users and his or her family members or close associates.
Last year witnessed a decline in the number of people in the US who abuse the substance. However, the decline does not mean that the number of individuals in the country who abuse substance is insignificant and does not need attention. The number of people who abuse drugs is worrying and policymakers should come up with ways of ensuring that drug use and abuse is reduced in the country. The worrying trend concerning substance use is that majority of drug abusers come from poor neighborhoods. The little money the poor people make but they opt to spend it on substances rather than spending it on good investments (Mangum, Stephen, Andrew and Levitan 10). Drug abuse not only affects the abuser but it also affects his or her family members. Substance abuse results in negligence of parent duties. Children born to parents who abuse drugs are at a threat of child abuse and neglect and dropping out of school. Drug abuse solidifies the vicious cycle of poverty in the family of substance abusers (Kaestner 3). Quality education is the gateway for breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and drug users have do not invest in the education of their children because they are busy spending their money and time on substances (Mangum, Stephen, Andrew and Levitan 10).
Most of the people in the US who abuse substance are oblivious of the consequences of their habits. Drugs give a fleeting pleasure to the users but have long-term effects on the social, mental and general wellbeing. Studies have shown that several psychiatric disorders and epidemics such as HIV/AIDS are closely associated with drug abuse (Sutin, Michele and Zonderman 24). The worrying trend about drug addiction is that it begins at teenage age and by the time one becomes an adult they become addicted, and it becomes hard to stop the substance abuse. As one takes drugs more and more, he or she becomes addicted to the drugs and they spend most of their earnings on the drugs forgoing basic needs such as clothes, quality food among others. Over 81% of the USA citizens have used one form of the drug in their lifetime but only 15.4% become addicts (Sutin, Michele and Zonderman 25). This is a worrying trend because substance abuse is costly to the economy of the country. Those who become addicted to substances are mainly from low-income families or families that have a history of drug addiction. It is always hard to break the tendency of a family becoming substance because the trend is passed from one generation to the other. Childhood experiences of children of drug abusers predispose them to drugs, and they have a high probability of becoming drug addicts just like their parents (Kaestner 3).
Drug use and addiction have no single cause, but the risk factors for drug use include poverty (NCDA). Poverty is not the only cause of substance abuse because some people from high social status also abuse drugs, but poverty is one of the leading causes of drug misuse in the country. Poverty has some psychological impacts that predispose individuals to substance abuse in search of mental satisfaction derived from drugs (Waters, Albert and Morgen 58). People who abuse drugs ignore the fact the drugs do not solve their problems but rather they help to double the problem. However, it should not be understood that drugs are abused to offer solace being faced in life. Some people abuse drugs for pleasure or out of peer pressure with the desire to fit in a given social class.
Fighting poverty by offering equal opportunities to all the citizens is the first milestone needed to address the problem of drug abuse in the country (Kaestner 3). Discrimination and social oppression against minority groups in the country increase their chances of abusing drugs as a way of reliving the disappointments they face in the society (Waters, Albert R and Morgen 58). Some drug abusers blame the systems in the society that encourage segregation, but they should blame themselves because it is a personal choice to abuse any form of a drug. The majority of the drug users are aware of the risks of the drugs, but they ignore them and later start pointing blaming fingers at others if they become addicted. In a nutshell, substance abuse over an extended time leads to health issues that can have adverse effects on an individual and thus drugs should be avoided at all costs.
Kaestner, Robert. Does Poverty Cause Drug Use? Cambridge, Mass: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008. Print.
Mangum, Garth L, Stephen L. Mangum, Andrew Sum, and Sar A. Levitan. The Persistence of Poverty in the United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013. Print.
NCDA. http://ncda.org.jm/index.php/publications/drug-talkSutin, Angelina R., Michele K. Evans, and Alan B. Zonderman. "Personality Traits And Illicit Substances: The Moderating Role Of Poverty." Drug & Alcohol Dependence 131.3 (2013): 247-251. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.e
Waters, Judith, Albert R. Roberts, and Keith Morgen. "High Risk Pregnancies: Teenagers, Poverty, And Drug Abuse." Journal Of Drug Issues 27.3 (2007): 541-562. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.
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