Specialisation: Addiction

Addressing the Intersection of Addiction and Homelessness


The predicaments of addiction and homelessness have deeply ingrained roots that plague communities nationwide. These two predicaments often intermingle, fostering a cycle of hopelessness that affects individuals and communities on various levels. This proposal is geared towards addressing the crucial matter of homelessness linked to addiction. The intended audience for this proposal encompasses policymakers, community leaders, and concerned citizens who grasp the urgency of discovering comprehensive and efficient resolutions to this pressing issue.

Context and Background

The correlation between addiction and homelessness isn’t a recent occurrence but rather an enduring and entrenched predicament. Addiction, whether to substances such as narcotics or alcohol, or even behavioral dependencies, has long been associated with homelessness. Conversely, homelessness can also intensify addiction, as the stress, instability, and absence of support systems encountered by those without secure housing can lead to the use of substances as a coping mechanism.

Historically, the reactions of society to this intricate issue have varied. Some advocate for punitive actions, perceiving addiction as a moral lapse rather than a medical condition. Others underscore enforced rehabilitation, often infringing upon personal autonomy and human rights. These approaches have proven to be less effective and ethical than comprehensive, evidence-based remedies.

Thesis and Strategy of Consistency

This proposal advocates for a multifaceted approach to address the issue of homelessness linked to addiction. The proposed resolutions, to be elaborated in the following sequence, encompass:

  • Augmenting Accessibility to Addiction Treatment and Mental Health Services

Addiction is a multifaceted medical condition that frequently necessitates professional intervention. The primary key resolution is to enhance access to addiction treatment and mental health services. Indications suggest that this approach is pivotal in breaking the cycle of homelessness spawned by addiction (O’Connell et al.). These services should be effortlessly reachable, irrespective of one’s financial circumstances.

  • Expanding Initiatives for Affordable Housing

The absence of secure housing can be both a catalyst and a consequence of addiction. The second proposed resolution is to broaden initiatives for affordable housing, particularly those targeting homeless individuals with addiction issues (O’Connell et al.). This would offer a secure and stable milieu conducive to recovery.

  • Enacting Programs for Harm Reduction

Programs centered on harm reduction, such as monitored injection sites and needle exchange initiatives, have displayed the potential in diminishing health hazards associated with addiction (Palepu et al.). The third pivotal resolution involves implementing and extending these programs. They not only enhance the well-being of individuals grappling with addiction but also alleviate the burden on emergency services and public resources.

Enhancing Accessibility to Addiction Treatment and Mental Health Services

The endeavor to tackle homelessness linked to addiction commences with acknowledging addiction as a multifaceted medical condition that frequently necessitates professional intervention. (Palepu et al.), highlights the pivotal role played by accessibility to addiction treatment and mental health services in severing the connection between homelessness and addiction. Access to addiction treatment should be unreservedly available, regardless of one’s financial predicament.

One of the major obstacles to gaining access to addiction treatment is the scarcity of affordable healthcare. Many individuals experiencing homelessness are devoid of health insurance, rendering it almost impossible to afford the requisite treatment. To tackle this difficulty, policymakers should concentrate on expanding Medicaid and other government-funded healthcare programs to encompass addiction treatment and mental health services. Additionally, community-based clinics and outreach programs should be instituted in regions with elevated rates of homelessness linked to addiction to ensure easy access to the necessary aid.

Expanding Initiatives for Affordable Housing

The absence of secure housing is both an outcome and a catalyst of addiction. In the absence of a secure and stable environment, individuals grappling with addiction encounter even greater hurdles in their journey toward recovery. The second pivotal resolution, therefore, entails the expansion of initiatives for affordable housing, particularly those customized for homeless individuals contending with addiction issues .

Research has indicated that the provision of secure housing for individuals with a history of addiction not only elevates their quality of life but also augments the probability of successful recovery. Initiatives like Housing First, for instance, have proven successful in several urban centers by offering permanent housing as the initial step, followed by support services such as addiction treatment. Such initiatives should be implemented on a grander scale to address the distinct requirements of homeless individuals wrestling with addiction.

Enacting Programs for Harm Reduction

In addition to enhancing accessibility to addiction treatment and providing secure housing, programs dedicated to harm reduction represent a crucial element of the solution to homelessness linked to addiction. Strategies based on harm reduction prioritize the well-being and safety of individuals contending with addiction while recognizing that abstinence might not be immediately attainable .

Harm reduction initiatives, such as supervised injection sites and needle exchange programs, have demonstrated effectiveness in diminishing the health risks associated with addiction. These initiatives supply a secure and controlled setting for individuals to engage in drug use and provide clean needles along with medical oversight (Wise). Research has demonstrated that harm reduction programs not only reduce overdose fatalities but also serve as a conduit to addiction treatment for numerous individuals.

Addressing Counter-arguments

While advocating for these resolutions, it’s crucial to acknowledge counter-arguments. Some argue for punitive actions, viewing addiction as a moral lapse rather than a medical condition. However, punitive approaches often exacerbate the issue and do little to address the underlying causes of addiction. Instead of criminalizing addiction, we should concentrate on compassionate and evidence-based resolutions that prioritize rehabilitation and recovery.

Others may advocate for enforced rehabilitation, contending that individuals with addiction need to be coerced into treatment. Nevertheless, this approach raises substantial ethical concerns, including encroachments on personal autonomy and human rights (Wise). Furthermore, forced rehabilitation has been demonstrated to be less effective than voluntary treatment programs.


In conclusion, the predicament of homelessness linked to addiction is a complex and urgent issue that necessitates a multifaceted solution. By enhancing accessibility to addiction treatment, expanding initiatives for affordable housing, and implementing programs for harm reduction, we can break the cycle of addiction and homelessness.

This proposal serves as an appeal to action for policymakers, community leaders, and concerned citizens. Collaborative endeavors are imperative at local, state, and national levels to finance and implement these resolutions. By doing so, we can provide hope, dignity, and a pathway to recovery for those ensnared in the devastating cycle of addiction and homelessness.

Addressing this issue isn’t merely a matter of policy but a reflection of our values as a compassionate and empathetic society. Collectively, we can effect profound change in the lives of numerous individuals grappling with addiction and homelessness. It is our duty to act now and work towards a future where every individual has the opportunity to surmount addiction and secure stable housing.

Works Cited

O’Connell, Maria, et al. “Rates and Risk Factors for Homelessness After Successful Housing in a Sample of Formerly Homeless Veterans.” Psychiatric Services, vol. 59, no. 3, American Psychiatric Association, Mar. 2008, pp. 268–75, doi:10.1176/ps.2008.59.3.268.

Palepu, Anita, et al. “Substance Use and Access to Health Care and Addiction Treatment Among Homeless and Vulnerably Housed Persons in Three Canadian Cities.” PLOS ONE, vol. 8, no. 10, Public Library of Science, Oct. 2013, p. e75133, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075133.

Wise, Roy A. “Addiction Becomes a Brain Disease.” Neuron, vol. 26, no. 1, Cell Press, Apr. 2000, pp. 27–33, doi:10.1016/s0896-6273(00)81134-4.

The Nature of Addiction

Addiction is associated with different factors in life, for example, behavior, environment, and spirituality. Individuals are addicted to different things, for example, sex, food, social media, and substances. The substances are coined to different stressors, which makes the individuals look for more satisfaction from the substance (Liu et al.). The current generation has poor social cognition skills, which exposes them to psychological problems like depression. The individuals will look for substances to help relieve the problems. Social media is the most accessible platform where individuals can easily interact with funny content, hence helping them relieve stress and other psychological factors (Huang et al.). Therefore, addiction occurs when a person has developed psychological challenges which require satisfaction. A stressed individual will seek any substance that may provide joy in their life. Thus, the nature of addiction occurs due to psychological issues like stress, depression, isolation, and anxiety.

Psychological factors like depression cause social media addiction among the youth. Individuals may have poor social and interaction skills, which expose them to pressure, causing stress in their lives. Stress affects the functions of different body parts. The youths will outline the best method to socialize with friends and find entertainment content on the media (Karim et al.). Online content creates pleasure and joy among individuals, which shapes the body to align with the factors. Individuals will always seek pleasure from different sites when they are sad and lonely. Addiction to the media will enhance the ability of individuals to relieve themselves from the community since they cannot play freely with others physically (Karim et al.). They will tend to use social media to air their views and share their problems through the media. Therefore, addiction results from psychological problems like stress, which expose individuals to the internet to seek entertainment.

In addition, psychological factors alter the normal functioning of the brain, which creates addiction to different substances. Substance Use Disorder (SUD) results from different mental illnesses and psychological factors, for example, anxiety. Many individuals developed anxiety during the COVID-19 period, which increased the surge of online users (Nawi et al.). Many students are stuck on social media pages and are still addicted to them. The pandemic caused an increase in mental illness like anxiety, which lowered the normal brain structure of individuals, thus causing addiction to different substances to relieve their stress and other feelings. The psychological factors manifest in several ways; for example, individuals will seek factors that can make them forget their problems through social media or drugs (Nawi et al.). Studies have also outlined that anxiety leads to overindulgence in different behaviors, which creates a positive reward for the individuals. Therefore, mental illness like anxiety determines the direction of many individuals, which pushes them to seek soothing substances, hence resulting in addiction problems.

Furthermore, addiction results from depression. The current generation uses social media to air most of their feelings. For example, most teens and adults use the platforms to share their family issues like divorce and heartbreaks. A large percentage of media users are depressed and try to seek refuge and help from social pages (Kim et al.). Also, increased exposure to the media pages increases depression, which later causes addiction. Depressed individuals will try to seek refuge from the media since it has different sections that can help provide relief to their problems. However, the more an individual uses media platforms, the more the depression levels increase (Kim et al.). The two work on the same criteria in that depression exposes an individual to social media addiction, which further increases the addiction levels. Prolonged use of the platforms separates individuals from the real world, which increases loneliness, thus increasing addiction levels. Therefore, addiction results from psychological factors like depression.

Furthermore, psychological factors also lead to other forms of addiction, like food addiction. A study outlined that many individuals exposed to stress and depression had high food consumption rates. The individuals use food to relieve stress and feel like champions in society. The feeling of conquerors creates addictive behavior; thus, they will repeat the activity on a daily basis to remain relevant to their course (Liu et al.). Mental illness makes individuals practice other traits like self-control and empathy on different occasions. The feelings block the general body functions, thus leaving the individual with a single purpose to eat, browse, or indulge in other negative traits. The mental illness and psychological factors or triggers impulses that control the individual’s direction and operation mechanism (Huang et al.). The individuals fail to act on basic instructions, which may hinder excessive time spent online or eating. The stressors mature with time, thus causing addiction. Many individuals addicted to different substances have underlying mental illnesses like depression, which act as the driving force in their lives, inhibiting normal behaviors. Thus, addiction results from psychological factors like stress and depression.

In conclusion, addiction occurs due to psychological factors like depression, stress, and anxiety, which alter the operation mechanism of individuals. The altered brain functions generate events like impulsivity, which affects self-control and self-esteem; thus, the victim will only see the substance as the ultimate goal in life. The mental impairments may generate additional factors. For example, poor social skills may generate stress, which exposes the victim to social media. Excessive media use also generates depression, which causes addiction. A larger number of individuals who have a substance use disorder have impaired mental health. For example, teens addicted to drugs and sex suffer from depression and anxiety, which affects their cooperation in school and with their parents. The individuals may not shun negative traits, which may expose them to excessive use of different products. Therefore, addiction occurs when psychological factors like depression alter the brain.

Works Cited

Huang, Po-Ching, et al. “Associations between Social Media Addiction, Psychological Distress, and Food Addiction among Taiwanese University Students.” Journal of Eating Disorders, vol. 11, no. 1, Mar. 2023, https://doi.org/10.1186/s40337-023-00769-0. Accessed 10 Apr. 2023.

Karim, Fazida, et al. “Social Media Use and Its Connection to Mental Health: A Systematic Review.” Cureus, vol. 12, no. 6, June 2020, www.cureus.com/articles/31508-social-media-use-and-its-connection-to-mental-health-a-systematic-review.

Kim, Yun Jin, et al. “The Impact of Substance Use Disorder on the Mental Health among COVID-19 Patients.” Medicine, vol. 99, no. 46, Nov. 2020, p. e23203, https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000023203.

Liu, Mingli, et al. “Time Spent on Social Media and Risk of Depression in Adolescents: A Dose–Response Meta-Analysis.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 19, no. 9, Apr. 2022, p. 5164, https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095164.

Nawi, Azmawati Mohammed, et al. “Risk and Protective Factors of Drug Abuse among Adolescents: A Systematic Review.” BMC Public Health, vol. 21, no. 1, Nov. 2021, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-11906-2.