While research tends to suggest there is a link between poverty and drug addiction or alcoholism, the connection isn’t a black and white one. What poverty and addiction do share is that they can be like a slippery slope, where once the problems start they can seem insurmountable without help.

The environmental and social factors that influence people who are struggling financially can have bearing on their desire to use. Those who have had limited educational resources or who have struggled with low income or unemployment, will deal with a different level of stress and hardship than those who have more privilege. With increasing pressure and an inability to overcome financial obstacles, a sense of futility can be a challenge to avoid.

Many people begin drinking or using substances because they enjoy the feelings associated with them. When paired with stress or coping with feelings of hopelessness, substance abuse can quickly become an escape route, and increase the problems which aren’t being managed or confronted. These obstacles however, are not limited to people based on their socio-economic status, and alcoholism and drug addiction can effect anyone.

People from financially stable and wealthy backgrounds can encounter the same feelings of hopelessness and frustration for different reasons, or possibly have a genetic predisposition to addiction. Once an individual begins to slip into addictive behavior, they can become willing to trade everything they have to score another high. It’s not uncommon for addicts to have had successful lives and lost everything because of their drinking and using.

It wouldn’t be accurate to say addiction causes poverty, or that all individuals who struggle with financial hardship are at risk for alcoholism or substance abuse. Every person is unique and their circumstance will vary depending on their experience. The link between poverty and drug addiction is primarily related to the knowledge that the problem is not a simple one, and the solution can be found in recognizing when to ask for help.

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