Author: Alex Thompson

What Percentage of Homeless Are Drug Addicts?

what percentage of homeless people are on drugs

But Culhane said even a substantial increase in that rate wouldn’t equate to a direct tie between addiction and homelessness in the way the El Cajon mayor implied. But each agreed that homelessness and addiction aren’t as directly linked as Wells suggested. I reviewed several studies and surveys, most of them national, and talked with national experts on homelessness to dig into Wells’ claim.

Finally, since residual confounding may bias our results, we performed a formal test to assess the sensitivity of unmeasured confounders to regression results (51). Young people recruited for participation in the study included those identified by drop-in center staff as being years of age and known to use alcohol and/or drugs. Case managers approached young adults who, based on their observations and knowledge of the individual, met inclusion criteria but were not currently “high” or drunk. These staff members approached and described the study to their clients and invited the young person to speak with research assistants.

It means that the argument that “we simply do not have enough existing housing” should be examined more closely. None of those sources confirmed that most homelessness is linked to drugs or alcohol, as Wells claimed. Mayor Bill Wells has described rampant addiction among El Cajon’s homeless population in the weeks since, arguing that rising drug use and street homelessness helped fuel the hepatitis A outbreak.

Q6. What can be done to reduce the number of drug addicts among the homeless?

When it comes to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), those rates are much higher. As we showed in the statistics above, this may be true in some cases, but not all of them. Painting this community with such a broad brush overlooks the complex factors that need to be changed to reduce the occurrence of people without access to basic necessities.

what percentage of homeless people are on drugs

In addition, the study found that nearly one-third of the participants reported daily substance use. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SMAHA) estimates that roughly 38% of the homeless population suffer from an alcohol dependency while 26% abused drugs. Additionally, they found that 68% of cities reported that substance abuse was the largest cause of homelessness among single adults. Substance use disorder, along with PTSD, are two of the five most common mental health disorders impacting homeless veterans today, according to the U.S. Without the proper support, they are much more likely to end up on the street, which can worsen their substance abuse and other mental health conditions.

Social determinants of health and addiction

But anyone with experience in the addiction treatment community understands this isn’t only false, it’s a dangerous oversimplification of the factors that lead to both addiction and a person not having a place to live. These factors tend to overlap — many homeless people are addicts or have struggled with substance abuse, and the opposite is also true. A study of homeless adults in San Francisco, CA, found that more than half of the participants reported a mental health disorder. The study also found that more than three-quarters of the participants reported a history of substance use disorder. Race, gender, and ethnicity can influence the likelihood of dealing with homelessness and addiction. As with housed individuals, certain demographics of homeless people suffer from addiction at a higher rate than others.

  1. For example, people who experience trauma when they’re children are more likely to experience both homelessness and addiction.
  2. Painting this community with such a broad brush overlooks the complex factors that need to be changed to reduce the occurrence of people without access to basic necessities.
  3. For example, young adults who sold self-made items were more likely to use drugs infrequently, while those who reported dealing drugs as their primary source of income were more likely to be drug dependent.
  4. Lastly, although we used all ED visits and hospital discharge data from four large and diverse states, our findings may not be generalizable to homeless patients in states not included in our analysis.
  5. De-institutionalization or closure of mental hospitals was initially believed to be a prime cause of homelessness, but this occurred well before the sharp increase in the 1980s.
  6. The living conditions of this group, compounded with the need for monetary and material resources, may lead to not only illegal activities such as selling drugs, but to violent actions as well [49].

Chris Carberg is a visionary digital entrepreneur, the founder of, and a long-time recovering addict from prescription opioids, sedatives, and alcohol. Over the past 15 years, Chris has worked as a tireless advocate for addicts and their loved ones while becoming a sought-after digital entrepreneur. Chris is a storyteller and aims to share his story with others in the hopes of helping them achieve their own recovery. The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that the nation’s overall rate of homelessness was approximately 18 out of every 10,000 people in 2020.

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According to a 2015 study from the National Coalition for the Homeless, an estimated 20-25% of homeless people in the United States suffer from some form of substance abuse disorder. This number can vary significantly depending on the location, with some areas of the country having much higher rates of homeless drug addicts than others. The challenge of homelessness is an increasingly prevalent issue in many parts of the world. While the causes of homelessness can vary significantly, drug addiction is often cited as a major contributing factor. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the statistics surrounding what percentage of homeless individuals are drug addicts.

Programs that provide mental health and addiction services to homeless individuals are essential for helping them find stability and get back on their feet. With the right support and resources, homeless drug addicts can begin to reclaim their lives and make progress towards getting off the streets. Our final sample consists of 96,099 homeless and 2,869,230 low-income housed individuals who had at least one ED visit/hospital admission in 2014 in these four states. Few studies have evaluated economic factors for homeless young adults or the relationship between economic factors and drug use. In this study, it was found that the source of income was a significant predictor of the level of drug use.

First, we examined the association between homeless status and opioid overdose and opioid-related ED visits/hospitalizations using multivariable regression models. Homeless individuals had disproportionately higher adjusted risk of opioid-related outcomes compared to low-income housed individuals treated at the same hospital. These findings highlight the importance of recognizing the homeless population—especially White female homeless population—as a high-risk population for opioid overdose.

If one of our articles is marked with a ‘reviewed for accuracy and expertise’ badge, it indicates that one or more members of our team of doctors and clinicians have reviewed the article further to ensure accuracy. This is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure FHE Health is trusted as a leader in mental health and addiction care. Communities need to understand the damage that stigmatizing and criminalizing homelessness is doing to the unhoused population in their own backyard. Public housing grants and mutual aid programs have been shown to reduce homelessness by giving people the support they need to get back on their feet. There’s no simple solution for homeless and addiction, but the approach that’s proven most successful is a combination of broader access to treatment and a wider net of social support.

Others have pointed to the lack of safety nets for military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Still others have called out urban housing prices and cuts in government subsidies for affordable housing. Blaming the homeless, too, is not uncommon—bad choices, substance abuse, or a preference for life on the street are all popular explanations. It is important for homeless people to seek out help for their addictions in order to get back on their feet and live a healthier, more productive life. Substance abuse can lead to physical and mental health problems, financial instability, and an increased risk of violence. Drug addiction can also be a major obstacle to finding and maintaining employment, making it even harder for homeless people to get back on their feet.

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The lack of access to treatment and other social services is a major factor in the prevalence of substance abuse among the homeless. People who are homeless are less likely to have health insurance and are more likely to be enrolled in public assistance programs. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimated that roughly 36% of all homeless people suffered from a substance use disorder, a mental health condition, or both. Many women find themselves homeless after experiencing domestic-related issues such as domestic violence, sexual assault, or other sexual trauma. The combination of the traumatic issue(s) and the severe mental illness that often accompanies trauma and homelessness can increase the risk of developing a substance abuse issue, particularly heroin and cocaine. People who are homeless suffer from substance abuse and addiction at a greater rate than those who have homes.