The Economics Of Drug Abuse

The Economics Of Drug Abuse

Drug abuse is a phenomenon that is influenced by economics. There are many myths and misconceptions regarding who is most prone to usage, and why. It is commonly believed that drug abuse is a problem that occurs primarily among those on the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder. However, in truth, drug abuse is a problem among those in all social classes. While people of all backgrounds abuse drugs, the economics behind it differs between groups.

Which Drugs Are Most Often Abused By The Poor?

Drugs vary significantly in price and availability. As such, certain drugs are more obtainable by those of limited means when compared to others. Heroin, crack and crystal meth are drugs which are routinely abused by the poor. This is largely due to the fact that these drugs are relatively simple to produce and can be acquired for a low price. Alcohol is an interesting substance because although it varies wildly in price depending on the brand, the end results for those that abuse it are the same.

Which Drugs Are Most Often Abused By The Rich?

Tastes will change over time, and there are always new drugs being introduced to the market, both legal and otherwise. However, the rich tend to go for drugs which are rare, hard to find and costly even in small quantities. When cocaine was first introduced in the 1970s it was so expensive even in smaller quantities that only the rich and famous could afford it. Today drugs such as Ecstasy and prescription medications are often preferred by the wealthy and their children.

Some brands of alcohol sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars per bottle, well outside the reach of the poor, while common alcoholic beverages can be purchased at any convenience store for 1/10 the price. In the end, a rich man who abuses aged, expensive wine will become an alcoholic just like a poor man who abuses malt liquor. The idea that addiction is constrained to any one social class simply isn’t accurate.

The Connection Between Education And Drug Abuse

Studies have found a connection between education level and the likelihood of becoming an addict. Those who become educated beyond a high school level, and whose parents achieved higher education are less likely to become substance abusers. While addiction occurs among the rich and poor, the risk factors which predispose certain individuals to abuse are more visible among lower income families.

Advantages in Regards To Treatment

The rich do have a significant advantage over the poor when it comes to substance abuse treatment. Rehab can be expensive, and drug addicts that have low or nonexistent income will find it much harder to acquire treatment than someone that is well off. This has been a source of controversy in the rehabilitation industry. If only the wealthy can afford these services it leaves a significant portion of the population out in cold, which has required providers to come up with a number of possible solutions.