Monday, January 28, 2013

Drug Overdoses Increase in the Homeless and Impoverished

Impoverished and homeless populations have long had a tie to higher rates of drug use, abuse, and overdose; the most recent studies, show that these rates have skyrocketed in the past few years -- leading to "drug overdose" as the number one cause of death in the homeless and impoverished -- surpassing HIV/AIDS for the first time.

The results of this study came from over 5 years of data provided by homeless individuals participating in Boston's Healthcare for the Homeless program. An isolated case study in the Boston area, researchers promote that this trend can also be related to other urban areas across the United States.

There are a few certain aspects of this research study that do pose problems, however. Firstly, this only applies to those homeless people that took part in the program willingly while alive. There are no specifications as to whether or not all possible overdoses of homeless individuals were originally treated at a hospital -- under the Healthcare for the Homeless program -- or whether or not HIV/AIDS patients were able to migrate from the Healthcare for the Homeless program to other qualified programs. All of these un-specified aspects can definitely cause some wavering in the numbers, but the general concession is that these numbers are correct. More homeless people are dying of drug overdoses these days than from HIV/Aids.

While this does show that HIV/AIDS raids are beginning to slow, it also shows that drug use is quickly passing up traditional diseases as the leading cause of deaths in the US. While we have been making some headway for the past several decades, in offering more public health knowledge, warnings, and information about diseases (especially STDs such as AIDS); this also proves that we have turned a blind eye to those that are struggling with addictions to drugs and alcohol. Health officials are beginning to take the news of these studies as a sign that more needs to be done to offer more drug rehab classes, counseling, and 12 step recovery programs.

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