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Is Drug Use in Rich Neighborhoods Different Than in Poor Neighborhoods?

Is Drug Use in Rich Neighborhoods Different Than in Poor Neighborhoods?

Financial status affects drug use, its consequences and its options for treatment

Although addiction is an equal-opportunity disease that harms both Louisville’s rich and poor families alike, financial status and environment do affect drug use. Addiction is caused by a confluence of personality traits, environmental circumstances and genetic components, but, while impulsive or pessimistic personalities are more likely to contribute drug use and addiction, this statistic becomes irrelevant in poor neighborhoods. The Huffington Post reveals that “poverty was the overwhelming factor that predicted taking illicit drugs. In financially tough circumstances, a disorganized and undisciplined personality type became irrelevant” (“The Rich Use Cocaine for Different Reasons Compared to the Poor,” June 12, 2013). The studies cited in this article found that otherwise protective factors (such as strong family and a disciplined or cautious personality) had less influence in poor neighborhoods, and that poverty “can overwhelm other social and psychological factors that tend to be protective.”

This information leaves Louisville residents in poverty or in poor neighborhoods susceptible to addiction to a greater degree than those in more affluent areas. However, wealthy individuals who do become addicted often have greater underlying personality concerns to overcome in recovery. In other words, financial status plays a role in forming and recovering from addiction, but professional help is available for everyone.

How Drug Use Is Viewed

A Louisville resident’s income and neighborhood can influence her drug use, and those factors certainly influence how people view and address drug habits. While drug users in wealthy communities are often seen as valuable individuals with an unfortunate disease, drug users in poor neighborhoods are “labeled as degenerates, useless, a drain on society, irresponsible, and their problems are seen as their fault” (Huffington Post, “Drug Abuse and Our Biased Compassion,” February 10, 2014). This disparity in views is observed in recent, tragic celebrity deaths where addiction is mentioned but minimized, while accomplishments, positive personality traits and skills are lauded; on the other hand, when drug-related deaths occur in poor Louisville neighborhoods, public opinion is not tempered by kindness, sadness or understanding.

Similarly, drug use is punished more harshly in poor people. As the Huffington Post explains, “those convicted as drug offenders are disproportionately Black, although there is no significant difference in the rates in which Whites and Blacks use drugs. Convicted drug offenders are also mostly poor, despite the fact that drug abuse is rampant in wealthy communities as well.” Similarly all races and income levels can find abstinence and recovery, yet these resources are not always offered equally across economic lines. Many factors may influence whether or not someone uses drugs, as well as how other Louisville residents perceive her, but she can recover if she has the right help.

Do not let economic pressures limit your recovery. Rehab programs exist at all price levels, and many of them accept insurance or offer treatment on a sliding cost scale. You can get help no matter your or a Louisville loved one’s financial situation. Call our toll-free helpline for confidential support and access to some of the best and most affordable addiction treatment available. Do not let your drug use limit and define your future; end addiction and pick up the phone now.

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