Understanding addiction and its high price
It’s a common problem that can remain hidden in society for only so long. When pushed to breaking point, addiction can cause anyone spiral out of control – and no one is immune to its dangers. In our wider community, we can see the glaring effects of addiction if we only care to open our eyes to it.
With a portion of the homeless community either recovering from addiction or in the throes of it, it’s time we addressed the issue head-on.
Addiction is more widespread than you know
Whether it’s alcohol abuse or drug dependency, around 1 in 20 Australians have an addiction or substance abuse problem. The reasons behind addiction are countless. Some people are introduced to drugs at a young age, while others turn to it as a result of social pressure, traumatic personal issues or as a way to suppress emotional turmoil.
Whatever the catalyst, substance abuse can result in accidents, injuries, violent behaviours as well as mental health problems. When coupled with unstable living situations, addiction in some cases leads to homelessness, where the problem may become even worse.
The link between addiction and homelessness
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation found there was a strong link between homelessness and other social vulnerabilities, such as having an alcohol or drug-related addiction. In NSW, data from the Kings Cross Medically Supervised Injecting Centre found there was a significant over-representation of homelessness in the drug-using population. Also, more than half (57%) of the state’s homeless community said they consume alcohol at risky levels.
Unfortunately, it’s not just the adult population we see sleeping hard on the streets of Sydney. Too many youths find themselves homeless and addicted to drugs or alcohol. While not the case for everyone, the grips of addiction can begin at a very young age, often as a response to severe abuse in the home. A US study found that 71% of youths that had gone missing or run away from home had a substance-abuse problem. Some of the contributing factors for addiction at a young age include:
- Family abuse
- Poor coping mechanisms for stress
- Early use of substance abuse
- Physical, sexual and emotional abuse
- Running away from home
- Genetics of substance abuse
How we can curb the price of addiction
Whatever the reason for turning to drugs or alcohol, those who are struggling in our community deserve the support of those around them. And unfortunately, the number of people in NSW who are sleeping rough is only on the rise.
That’s why at Brothers in Need has a number of initiatives to support one of the most vulnerable groups in our community. Our Homeless Programs provide hot meals, fruit, non-perishable food items, drinks and hygiene packs to those who are doing it tough.
We also have our regular Soup Kitchen initiative where volunteers generously give up their time several nights a month to cook up a storm for the less-fortunate members of our community, including the homeless.
If you would like to support any of these programs, you can make a tax-deductible donation to Brothers in Need. Whether it’s a one-off payment or a recurring payment, every little bit helps those who need it most.