Robert Kaestner’s piece, “Substance Abuse Causes Poverty” presents a viewpoint different from many, saying poverty is a result of drug and alcohol abuse among our lower class. He argues that this abuse, specifically, chronic abuse, reduces user’s physical and mental abilities, lowers productivity, and reduces earnings, increasing the likelihood of poverty. His writing made strong correlations between the two issues, but also presents other factors that contribute to the level of poverty we are seeing today.
He states that drug use is triggered by a “significant personal setback, often characterized
by worsening economic position.”(Kaestner) He defines the most influential determinants of poverty as wages, labor supply, marital status, out-of-wedlock birth, and welfare participation. Studies have found few adverse effects of drug use on wages and labor supply, but have found strong associations with marital status and out-of-wedlock birth. His theory is supported by two national samples of young adults, the National Household Survey of Drug Abuse (NHSDA) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), associating drug use with greater poverty....