Author: Charles Frank

Statistics by Age, Race and Gender

what percentage of homeless people are on drugs

With no money, no home, and no ability to get either, children, teens, and young adults find themselves in a unique position when homeless, which can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. While some children, teens, and young adults are homeless because the rest of their family is homeless, many more become homeless for other reasons. Kids become homeless mainly because of family problems, economic problems, and abductions.

  1. Surveys of homeless San Diegans during the county’s most recent point-in-time count followed a similar trend.
  2. Unfortunately, substance abusers who are also homeless may not know where to turn for help.
  3. Even if you are homeless, you deserve to get help for your substance abuse and mental health issues, just like everyone else.
  4. Yes, homeless people are entitled to addiction treatment just like housed individuals.

A study of homeless adults in San Francisco, CA, found that more than two-thirds of the participants reported an alcohol use disorder. The study also found that more than half of the participants reported daily alcohol use. 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. Many communities offer state-funded treatment facilities for low-income and homeless people who require substance abuse and mental health treatment.

Risk Factors: Addiction and Homelessness

Most often, popular perceptions of exactly why a person might be homeless are driven by those who are most visible, and by their portrayals in the media. Homeless women have little or no access to contraception, prenatal care or other services related to reproduction. If they’re also substance abusers, the need is even greater for them to receive treatment during pregnancy since both drugs and alcohol can harm an unborn child. Homeless people often have a lot of concurrent medical problems as well as psychiatric issues and substance abuse.

what percentage of homeless people are on drugs

The vast majority of those homeless in California (nine out of 10) had been living in the state before losing their homes — bucking the idea that maybe people are flocking to the sunny West Coast to live outside in the nicer weather. Seventy-five percent of those homeless adults, in fact, live in the same California county as their last stint in housing. A quarter of participants reported an inability to access prescription medications for physical health conditions, and almost half reported their overall health as poor or fair.

How prevalent is homelessness alongside addiction?

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. Given how little notice people report having before they lost their housing, finding ways to provide aid faster should be a priority. That’s what makes an ambitious new study out of California — where 30 percent of the nation’s homeless population lives — so significant. Led by the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative (BHHI) at the University of California San Francisco, researchers sought to reflect the experiences of all people ages 18 and older experiencing homelessness in the state. When it comes to substance abuse and homelessness in women, public health issues are even more pronounced. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists reports that the rate of unintended pregnancies among homeless women is much higher than that among the general population of women.

According to government statistics, 80 percent of homeless people have experienced a lifelong struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. In order to successfully treat addiction and homelessness, barriers to treatment programs must be removed. It’s hard enough for homeless people to meet their daily needs, let alone jump hurdles to receive treatment. For example, most homeless people lack access to transportation, even public transportation. Considering these numbers, it’s easy to see why homelessness is such a difficult problem to tackle.

what percentage of homeless people are on drugs

Our free email newsletter offers guidance from top addiction specialists, inspiring sobriety stories, and practical recovery tips to help you or a loved one keep coming back and staying sober. The SAMHSA website allows you to search for government-funded or free treatment centers offering detox, inpatient, and outpatient treatment. Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders have the highest rate of homelessness, with 109 out of every 10,000 homeless. Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss…from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts. Wells is a registered nurse with a doctorate in psychology who for years worked in emergency rooms.

It may be up to family members and friends to conduct an intervention or encourage someone they love to get help before it’s too late. Dennis Culhane, a University of Pennsylvania professor renowned for his homelessness research, conducted in-depth research on the topic in the 1990s. He said he found about a “50 percent lifetime substance dependence rate” among single adults who were homeless.

The study also found that more than three-quarters of the participants reported a history of substance use disorder. 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. Studies have found that drug addiction is more common among the homeless than among the population at large.

SDoH are significant factors contributing to addiction, but not the only factors

At the same time, many seemingly down-and-out patients that I’ve treated in the past are leading healthy, stable lives in recovery, so SDoH aren’t everything. A significant portion of homeless people do have jobs—they just cannot afford to pay rent. Some receive disability income due to physical or mental problems but still cannot afford rent. People on the street often reject the option of crowded, unsafe shelters—not housing in general. However, alcoholics and drug addicts seldom consider this when they’re in the middle of a binge, or their addiction gets the best of them.

A common saying is that “addiction doesn’t discriminate,” which means that it can affect anyone from any sphere of life, ranging from coal miners and truck drivers to executives, doctors, and lawyers. I have personal experience with what an equal-opportunity destroyer of well-being and happiness addiction can be, as I am 14 years into recovery from a vicious addiction to prescription painkillers. My addiction didn’t care about my education, medical degree, race, gender, religion (or lack thereof), social status, or health. Homeless persons are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. Of course, some homeless individuals may commit acts of violence beyond self-defense but such acts rarely affect the non-homeless individuals they encounter.

“I do not believe the market is going to solve for this given how incredibly poor everyone was,” she said. In terms of gender and sexuality, most respondents (69 percent) identified as cisgender men, and 30 percent identified as cisgender women. One percent identified as nonbinary, transgender, or gender nonconforming, though that rate was higher (6 percent) for participants ages 18-24. Compared to the overall California population, researchers found non-white groups overrepresented among the homeless, with 26 percent of participants identifying as Black and 12 percent identifying as Native American or Indigenous. Thirty-five percent identified Latino/x as their sole racial identity or one of their racial identities. Surveys have shown 70 to 80 percent of homeless persons are from the local area or lived there for a year or longer before becoming unhoused.

Q3. How do drug addictions affect the homeless population?

Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among the homeless population, with an estimated 17-25% of homeless people struggling with an alcohol addiction. Opiates such as heroin and prescription painkillers are also a major problem, with an estimated 5-10% of homeless people suffering from an opiate addiction. Stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine are less common, but still present in the homeless population. Many women find themselves homeless after experiencing domestic-related issues such as domestic violence, sexual assault, or other sexual trauma.