Socioeconomic Dimensions to Addiction and Recovery

Writer, Maia Szalavitz, states “Addictions are harder to kick when you’re poor”. She makes the point that there is a socio-economic dimension to addiction. Addiction correlates with high unemployment and  lower income. For example, Szalavitz states heroin addiction is more than three times as common in people making less than $20,000 per year compared to those who make $50,000 or more. Higher levels of education are linked with lower rates of addiction. The addiction rate among the unemployed is around twice as high among people who have jobs. She also makes the point that most addiction ends by the age of 30, if they reach certain milestones such as working, getting married and having children. While this may be true of most drugs of abuse, is it different for opiate addictions? Listen to a group of people who were addicted to opiates discuss their opinions of  the socio-economic dimensions to heroin and pain killer addiction.

Discussion Guide:

Do you believe that addiction is influenced by income, education and employment?

Is your addiction influenced by these factors? If so, in what way?

Is opiate addiction different than other substances in terms of being socio-economically influenced?

Do you agree that most people “age out” of addiction by the age of 30?

Are people in late stage addiction to heroin or pain killers as likely to age out of addiction?

Do you find that the national economy directly impacts whether addicts are able to access treatment?

Supplemental Reading:

Szalavtiz, Maia