Why is Addiction More Common in Poorer Areas?


Drug abuse is incredibly common at present and is an incredibly complex issue that many of the powers that be in government simply do not understand. It can affect anyone in communities all over the planet as they look to deal with various stresses and traumas. However, research also shows that drug addiction tends to be more prevalent in more deprived areas, with socioeconomic disadvantages making it conducive to substance abuse. But why exactly is that?

In order to try and resolve the issue, it’s important we understand the underlying factors and why the disparity is causing more people to struggle in such communities…

Limited Access to Resources and Opportunities

Firstly, poverty is often associated with limited access to various opportunities and resources that those in richer areas do. This means the likes of education, employment, healthcare, and recreational activities. These barriers can lead to a sense of hopelessness and frustration, turning to the likes of drugs, alcohol and in fact sex to address the likes of boredom, find fulfillment and combat stress.

Today, when youth clubs are closing down at an alarming rate, and have been for many years, this is especially a concern, with higher levels of drug abuse and crime as a result.

High Levels of Economic Stress and Instability

People turn to the likes of alcohol and drugs in order to numb the pain of day-to-day life and in times of economic stress that’s especially the case.


Where it’s a struggle to make ends meet and unemployment levels are high, the feelings of anxiety and depression can be higher, and drugs essentially act as a form of self-medication or temporary relief.

Lack of Access to Quality Healthcare and Treatment Services

The lack of access to healthcare contributes to the cycle of substance abuse and addiction becoming never ending. While there is some access to drug rehab, and there are grants and payment plans available to combat drug addiction, overall, there is a lack of access to break free from that cycle. This is something that seriously needs to be addressed by local authorities.

Higher Exposure to Risk Factors and Adverse Environments

The risk factors are undoubtedly higher in communities where money is tighter. They are often characterised by higher levels of crime, violence and social disorganisation which can lead to a higher accessibility to drugs and more exposure to trafficking and distribution.

For younger people, this becomes part of the norm and that normalisation makes it more difficult for people to resist peer influences and the social pressures from others to engage in substance abuse.


Unfortunately, in many parts of the country, and indeed the world, there are no signs of such problems being tackled in the near future, with many governments failing to provide funding to help people who are most in need.

Many communities are doing what they can to protect their residents, forming charities and safe drug administration centers, but until further help is provided, it’s an issue that is going to continue for many, many years to come.