‘It will never happen to me’ - Research links addiction to social exclusion and homelessness
Friday, July 24th, 2009
The link between addiction, social exclusion and homelessness has been highlighted in a new report published by The Salvation Army.
‘The Seeds of Exclusion 2009’ has found that young people aged between 18 – 25 years old are most at risk of ‘drinking their lives away’, oblivious to the dangers of social exclusion and homelessness that result from their excessive behaviour.
The report, based on on-going research into the link between social exclusion and homelessness, found that some young drinkers are falling into a cycle of severe alcohol dependency without realising the long term harm they are doing to themselves and their families.
It says that a ‘it will never happen to me’ mentality is responsible for a whole generation of young adults who appear to be self medicating with drugs and alcohol, in response to the pressures and problems they face on a daily basis.
While the report stipulates that dysfunctional relationships with family during childhood are a major contributing factor to homelessness, it also stresses that substance abuse and mental health needs plays a fundamental role in drawing people into homelessness and social exclusion.
The reports key findings suggest that disruptive childhoods and poor relationships with parents in early life were linked with higher levels of drug and alcohol dependency.
Alcohol abuse was found to be high across all age groups, with 59 per cent of the 967 respondents reporting an addiction. When divided by age, those is the 18 – 25 bracket were found to be most at risk, with 66 per cent reporting alcohol dependency. However, of these, only 14 per cent would readily admit to suffering an addiction.
Meanwhile, about one fifth (21 per cent) of all respondents linked their homelessness to drug misuse, and a smaller number to problem drinking (16 per cent). However, clinical assessment showed that 80% had drug and/or alcohol misuse problems, though only a quarter were using support services for their addiction.
More than half of respondents aged from 18 to 45 years had a drug dependency and this peaked in the 26-35 age-group, at 67 per cent.
The report also found that almost three-quarters of respondents (74 per cent) had multiple psychological problems, such as a post traumatic stress, a high suicide risk, and drug and alcohol dependency.
Lieut-Colonel Ian Barr, Director of Programme for The Salvation Army in the UK and Ireland, said: “This new report, with its detailed and clinical research methods, really does present new findings about why people become socially excluded.”
“In our centres, we see too many victims of an excessive drinking and drug culture that is not only endangering personal health, but damages relationships, education and employment prospects, and leads and keeps people amongst the most socially excluded in our society.”
To download a copy of the entire Salvation Army report, please follow the link below.