Mar 17, 2007

We Need to Help Right Here at Home!

Most of us tend to think that alcohol and drug addicts become homeless very easily, but this is usually not the case. However, if one is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and is poor, then they are at a much greater risk of succumbing to poverty. The implication here is that, contrary to common belief, most drug and alcohol addicts are housed.If someone is addicted and truly desires to rid themselves of the addiction, as most people do, they need the proper treatment. The treatments and services that these recovering addicts require usually involve very high fees, which can even be a problem for people from a financially stable home.According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 3.5 million Americans, half of all homeless people, have a drug or alcohol problem. Sadly, there aren't enough treatment centers for the addicted homeless. The Coalition found that 80% of the local treatment centers had to turn people away. With this extremely high number of homeless addicted, why are there not more services for them? It has been shown that majority of homeless addicts that enter a treatment program usually end up in temporary or permanent housing. A prime example is the Salvation Army's Harbor House in St. Louis, MO. The Harbor House has two treatment programs, and 75% of their graduates move on to get stable jobs and secure housing. Another example can be found in Washington, D.C. The "Clean and Sober Streets" program there deals with drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and reports that 70% of their graduates move into homes of their own and stay clean after graduation. In Chicago's O'Hare Outreach Program for homeless men, 75% of their graduates obtain housing for themselves.Health insurance is not something homeless people possess. Usually, without a stable address, they are not eligible for Medicade. Since most of these homeless addicts do not have financial resources, their chances of getting help are very slim. Fewer than half of the homeless addicts that need treatment get it, and if they are given treatment, it usually is not the type of help they can use because of their homeless status. Programs like the Harbor House and the O'Hare Outreach Program, as well as many others, have extremely long waiting lists. Even if homeless people are lucky enough to get onto a waiting list, without an address, phone number, or a definitive way to be contacted, the yprobably won't even know when there is an opening in the program. Consequently, they are dropped from the waiting list.As it can be clearly seen, if there were more treatment programs, the number of homeless people would most likely decline. However, this is not likely to happen. In March of 1996, President Clinton signed Public law 104-121 into effect. This law puts further restrictions on Social Security Income, Social Security Disability Income, and Medicade Disability Benefits. It is estimated that the signing of this law alone immediately made 40,000 more people homeless and the overall number of homeless people will continue to grow by approximately 50,000 people per year.In My View of It, we need to start addressing these kinds of issues instead of sending billions of dollars to other Countries trying to help them with their "Social Issues." What about our homeless and addicted here? Why can't we get them into drug rehab and off the streets? Look at the numbers for God's sake! It is disgusting to me that this continues to be an issue in a Country as rich as ours. I guess though if you are an addict and homeless you become just another member of a "disposable population" does this piss anyone else off? If you or someone you know has an Alcohol or Drug problem, here is a great resource: are a drug rehab program referral serviceCall 1-800-No-Drugs to find a drug treatment center that meets your needs.

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Anonymous said...

I liked this article. It hit home for me. I've known a couple of bright people who became homeless because of their drug addiction.

My good friend just went to a drug rehab called Narconon Vista Bay and is doing great. He graduated some time ago and has continued to do well and stay employed.

Thanks for the blog. D.M.

Carol said...

Congratulations to your friend. I love to hear it when someone gets into Recovery! I have had my own experiences with addiction. There are no boundaries with this issue. Addiction will take the most prominent person to the streets if it is left untreated. Thank you so much for your visit and your thoughful comment.

Homeless said...

The homeless problem will never be solved unless we take it one homeless person at a time and working one on one to improve and reverse mistakes.