What Came First Substance Abuse or Homelessness?

by asang1 on April 20, 2014 - 11:27pm

Have you ever wondered if substance abuse was a cause or effect of homelessness? Well many American citizens lack the knowledge on what causes homelessness and that the majority of homeless citizens do not choose the path they have fallen into. Homelessness has become a major issue for many people throughout the world that is becoming more and more prominent every year. There are many causes as to why homelessness is becoming more prominent and many always seem to believe that substance abuse is the major cause of homelessness over any other possible reason. Well Guy Johnson and Chris Chamberlain conducted a wide research to investigate whether substance abuse was a cause or effect of homelessness by examining 5,526 case studies and 65 supplemented in depth interviews from two different homeless organizations. It was found that 43% of the sample had substance abuse issues before becoming homeless while 67% of the samples were found to have substance abuse following homelessness. The examined data and interviews reveal the drug abuse follows homelessness as a way to cope with the harsh and repressive environment and substance abuse causes more problems down the road for them. The second reason for problematic substance use stems from increasing involvement in the homeless is that drug use is a very common and accepted social practice among the homeless population and so many begin to participate. Johnson and Chamberlain also found that those who were homeless at a younger age of 18 and under or experience homelessness more than once were found to be more susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs due to their predicament and inability to adapt to a new environments. Their research has made it clear that the relationship between problematic substance abuse and homelessness is complex and that it varies between each individual case but overall substance abuse had seemed more prominent after homelessness occurred and not before. This proves that substance abuse is not an effect of homelessness and that many citizens do not choose to become homeless it just occurs.

 

            The main purpose of this article was to show the relationship between substance abuse and homelessness and to show that substance abuse is not a major cause of homelessness. Many people can be oblivious to the fact that homelessness is not self-inflicted and that there are other major causes that can cause anyone to become homeless. This article really proves to everyone that homelessness is not a choice and all though some become homeless due to carelessness with drugs, there are many who do not choose to be in their situation. The purpose of this research was well executed and proven true. It was found that a majority of homelessness were abusing substances after they became homeless. Since they used over 5000 case studies and 65 interviews makes it reliable and can be assumed for the areas of study. I believe in their statement that there are variations between cases, because the cause of homelessness is different and varies between different individuals. I also believe that substance abuse is not the major cause of homelessness although it is a cause for some, but there are much bigger causes than substance abuse for example, you could be born into it, unemployment, natural disasters, veterans become homeless and also those with criminal pasts also have tendency to become homeless. It has been shown that substance abuse is an effect of homelessness and is clearly due to the predicament people are being forced into, and that the subculture of homelessness involves substance abuse. The one thing I think they would want us to take from their research is that substance abuse is not in fact a major cause but is a domino effect of homelessness in which we should realize that it is not always a path to be chosen.  

 Johnson, G., & Chamberlain, C. (2008). Homelessness and Substance Abuse: Which Comes First?. Australian Social Work, 61(4),

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Comments

Hi, nice article you got there! It was well summarized and including exact information certainly plays in your favor to capture your readers interest. However, you have to be more careful as to what you convey to your audience. You say that it "is not self-inflicted" with a definitive tone when in fact it may have been possible that many of them are self-inflicted. You article only talks about their alcohol abuse not their life choice. Leave room for error when you try to convince your audience but inputting "can be" or "it is possible that" so that if exceptions arise you may be able to fall back on that to further defend your point. You might be interested in a book my teacher gave me but that I came to love called "thank you for Arguing: what Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson can teach us about the art of persuasion". It's a surprisingly fun read dispute the subject being taught in it".

I never gave too much thought about homelessness and drugs, but there seems to be some sort of correlation. I know in most TV shows or movies, they will show a homeless man as either a drunk or a addict of some kind. I never knew for sure, but I could always guess that being homeless would raise the likelihood of taking drugs. Being homeless would be extremely tough and depressing, so it is no surprise that more homeless people turn to drugs for help. Drugs gets them out of reality and it allows them to feel like the world isn't depressing for them. Then once their high ends, all they want to do is get back to their paradise. I agree that taking drugs won't make you homeless, but if you are homeless you are more inclined to take drugs.

Interesting statistic to show the ratio between alcoholic homeless people and homelessness in general. Your article is straightforward and examines the depressing issue very effectively. In the course I am taking presently I am elaborating an essay concerning how the presence of more social entrepreneur in a society can benefit a great number of individuals. In the case of you're article, social entrepreneurs would certainly be interesting in organization helping to either follow alcoholic homeless people or to contribute to reducing homelessness rate. Social entrepreneur find solutions for every new or old problematic, this is why the concept is not know a lot today.

Very interesting article. I liked how your article provided a different perspective about the issue by questioning some assumptions that people make about homeless people and the causes of the issue. Personally, I will be volunteering at an organization named the Old Mission Brewery, which helps people in this situation. I will probably be able to hear about different stories of how some itinerants got into homelessness and the real causes explaining why they are in this situation. Perhaps I could write back to you after my volunteer experience to share with you some of those stories to deepen are understanding of the real causes for homelessness.

To say that substance abuse is the main cause of homelessness is similar to saying that ice cream is the main cause of obesity. Every situation varies according to the individual in that situation. In some cases, yes, substance abuse can lead to homelessness. More often than not, though, it is due to economic reasons. It makes sense that people turn to drugs after they become homeless because of the combination of their current difficulties and the company they are keeping. I think certain people are more prone to substance abuse, though, and are more susceptible no matter what their situation.

Good summary. You give us numbers and statistics that allow us to better understand the point of the article. I do not think substance abuse is a cause of homelessness. It seems to me that, like you said, things like unemployment or being born into it are much more likely to make people homeless. Substance abuse is, in my opinion, a way homeless people try to cope with their situation as it allows them to forget about their problems for a short amount of time. Also, it probably only worsens their situation and ensures that they become unable to find employment and shelter. This article (http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/addiction.pdf) discusses the link between substance abuse and homelessness, arguing that the former is caused by the latter and that homeless people mainly do this to cope with their situation.

Great summary and the statistics are great but I believe this article is forgetting to mention one of the most recurrent causes of homelessness. The article forgets to mention mental disorders and how many lives they destroy. Many people suffer from different mental disorders like schizophrenia, but are never given the opportunity to not only find help, but are also never even given a diagnosis. These people live with these disorders, they eventually destroy their social life as well as their work until they end up homeless. I think there needs to be more emphasis on helping these people and preventing cases like these from happening.

Great summary and the statistics are great but I believe this article is forgetting to mention one of the most recurrent causes of homelessness. The article forgets to mention mental disorders and how many lives they destroy. Many people suffer from different mental disorders like schizophrenia, but are never given the opportunity to not only find help, but are also never even given a diagnosis. These people live with these disorders, they eventually destroy their social life as well as their work until they end up homeless. I think there needs to be more emphasis on helping these people and preventing cases like these from happening.

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