For those of us who have never had to be seriously concerned about where our next meal is coming from, pervasive hunger might just be something we’re aware of, but haven’t experienced personally. However, most of us have probably had some instances in our lives that put us face to face with drug abuse, whether that means witnessing a drug deal occur in a dark alley or perhaps aiding a family member who’s struggling with an addiction to prescription pain killers.
As you’ll soon see, even if you haven’t personally dealt with chronic hunger, the information you’re about to read may hit home in a powerful way because the lure of illicit drugs has a surprising tie to world hunger, or more specifically, ending it.
How Much Do Americans Spend on Drugs?
People who are trapped in the cycle of drug usage often end up living lifestyles where financial responsibility is compromised because the goal is to find the next dose of a chosen substance at any cost. Surprisingly, according to this infographic by 12 Keys Rehab, the drug problem in the United States comes with a price tag of 300 billion dollars per year. To put that in perspective, it’s important to realize how that’s enough to end world hunger for an entire decade!
The Problem of Homelessness and Drug Abuse
People who are homeless often battle hunger and drug abuse at the same time. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that on any given night in America, there are more than 650,000 homeless persons. That statistic paints a bleak picture when paired with research done in the United Kingdom, which found that after becoming homeless, four out of five individuals begin using a new drug. Furthermore, homeless drug users may die up to three decades earlier than their peers who do not face homelessness.
What You Can Do
When considering a large-scale problem like world hunger, it’s easy to start feeling discouraged, and like there is nothing we can do as individuals. The first step of tackling a problem involves knowing it exists. Now that you’ve become aware of just how financially taxing drug usage can be, don’t turn a blind eye to it. If someone you know is struggling with an addiction to illicit substances, get them help by suggesting they enroll at a program offered by a rehab or a similar supervised treatment solution. You can also decide to work at soup kitchens and specifically reach out to homeless people who have admitted that drug usage is a problem in their lives.
Because treating addiction can be so complex, it’s important to urge a person to sign up for comprehensive treatment instead of trying to kick his or her habit independently. By being supportive of people who are struggling with drug addiction and helping them get necessary treatment, you can play a personal role in reducing the amount of money spent on drugs, focusing on one person at a time. Then, that money could potentially be put towards a better purpose such as curbing hunger around the world.
Katie Elizabeth is a freelance writer who enjoys examining complex problems and learning about new technologies.