Homelessness and Substance Abuse

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It has been long suggested that homelessness and substance abuse are in some way connected in a lot of cases. While this point has not been debated, the issue has become which has occurred first, the substance abuse or the homelessness. Has the loss of a home drove people to abuse substances or have people’s illicit substance abuse led to misappropriation of funds and ultimately foreclosure and homelessness. The debate has raged on about whether the substance abuse is a cause for homelessness or a consequence of homelessness. Is the substance abuse a risk factor or does the homelessness induce drug use. Recent studies have been conducted in various parts of the world to try and first determine what is caused first the substance abuse or the homelessness and ways to stop the growing trend. In an article by Guy Johnson and Chris Chamberlain of RMIT University in Victoria, Australia, they conducted a study involving about 4,300 people in Australia. They set out to try and find which way the relationship flowed either from homelessness to substance abuse or from substance abuse to homelessness. They found that 43% of the sample had substance abuse problems. Of the 43%, one third or 15% of the 43% has substance abuse problems before they were homeless for the very first time. Their study also showed that in most of those cases the substance abuse was not the cause of the homelessness, there were other factors that resulted in them becoming homeless such as job loss, divorce, change in other family structures and other factors. The other two thirds, developed the substance abuse after they became homeless. Their research suggested that many researchers have focused on substance abuse as an adaptation as opposed to a precursor. They found in the study that people turned to substance abuse for two common reasons. The first being that people begin to take the drugs as a way to cope with or somehow escape the harsh, oppressive environments that confronts them....
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