The Relationship between Homelessness and Morphine Addiction

The Relationship between Homelessness and Morphine Addiction

According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, homelessness is defined as lacking a fixed nighttime residence adequate for basic human needs. Living in shelters, transitional housing, abandoned buildings, bus stations and public areas all qualify as being homeless. The 1997 Addiction-published study “Substance Abuse and Homelessness” examined the two issues through two social models, which included the following:

  • Social selection – Substance abuse is a pathway that leads to homelessness.
  • Social adaptation – Struggling to deal with homelessness leads to substance abuse.

The study suggested that drugs are more likely than alcohol to result in homelessness, but homeless individuals use both substances to endure their situations. Morphine is a prescription drug used to treat pain, but its numbing effects can appeal to homeless individuals trying to adapt. Likewise, its opiate compounds can trap users in a dangerous addiction that can ruin a life.

Addiction and Homelessness Statistics

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website compiles information on homelessness issues. One study provided data collected over one year (October 2009 to September 2010), including the following:

  • Nearly 1.6 million people experienced homelessness over the year
  • The largest age demographic for homelessness was 31 to 50 years at 37%
  • Adults aged 18 to 30 made up the second largest group at 23.5%

Another study provided data on any given night in January 2010, which included the following:

  • 408,000 people were in homeless shelters or on the street
  • 110,000 of them had chronic homelessness problems
  • 26.2% of all sheltered homeless had a severe mental illness
  • 34.7% of all sheltered homeless had chronic substance abuse issues
  • 37% of all sheltered homeless were there as a family
  • Among the homeless families, 78% of the adults were women

Other studies noted by SAMHSA estimated that 50% of the chronically homeless have a co-occurring substance addiction and 80% have had an addiction issue in their lifetime.

Reasons for Morphine Use

While substance abuse can result in homelessness, so can medical bills, domestic violence, long-term unemployment, natural disasters and a lack of child support. These are also issues that can motivate morphine use. The SAMHSA website listed several other troubling statistics from 2010, including the following:

  • 44,000 to 66,000 veterans are chronically homeless
  • 20% of homeless youths are identified as LGBTQ
  • 92% of homeless mothers experienced serious physical and/or sexual abuse
  • 30% of the chronically homeless have mental health conditions
  • Homeless mothers suffer post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) at three times the rate of low-income housed women

Likewise, shelters are often abusive settings, and homeless individuals in general are victimized more often. Ultimately, the trauma of being homeless is typically just one of many motivations behind morphine addiction and other substance abuse.

Treatment for Opiate Addictions

Professional rehab provides a medically managed detox, but integrated treatments are necessary for homeless morphine addicts with co-occurring conditions. Rehab facilities can provide several potential services, including the following:

  • Psychodynamic counseling to address unresolved conflict and trauma
  • Screenings and treatment for mental health issues like depression and PTSD
  • Therapies to develop better coping mechanisms and behavioral responses

Case managers can also assist in coordinating services, including the following:

  • Managing different program tracks
  • Searching out financial resources
  • Assisting with legal, health and housing issues

Morphine addiction can displace users and limit options, but integrated treatment can help.

Finding Help for Morphine Addiction

Do you or a loved one struggle with addiction and homelessness? Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak with our admissions coordinators. We can discuss treatment options, rehab facilities, case managers and even check health insurance policies for benefits. Please call now.