Poverty & Addiction by Lisa Frost

by | Dec 14, 2019 | Addiction, Assessments, blog, Counseling, DUI Classes, Murray, Paducah, Programs, Therapy, Western Kentucky

Addiction knows no financial balance and affects individuals of all socioeconomic classes. However, there is a strong correlation between poverty and substance use disorders. Individuals in low income and rural areas in many cases struggle to meet their basic needs for housing, food, and gainful employment. As these stresses increase individuals may view selling illicit substances as a way to advance financially and also escape emotionally.

If we look at wages in low income areas, housing is normally near $700.00 per month in rent. Most landlords require the first months rent in advance so $1400.00 would need to be paid upfront just to achieve shelter. Then there are utility bills and renters insurance. An individual making $10.00 per hour that works a 40 hour work week bring home pay is around $340.00 per week after taxes. This equals to $1360.00 in monthly income. With these numbers a single individual would be $40.00 per month short just to achieve basic housing. This does not include groceries, transportation to and from work, or child care expenses if the individual has dependents.

In this situation those struggling to meet basic needs are met with desperation and the absence of hope. This may lead to impulsive decisions and behaviors that the person may not normally engage in to meet their basic needs. While we cannot change the individuals circumstances, we as counselors can offer assistance for resources for community based services, rental or housing assistance information, and information for local food pantries. The truth is, if we look around our local areas its not hard to find individuals that are struggling in our communities. Offering resources and healthy interventions provides those in need with hope and motivation for positive change. Developing a list of resources and reaching out to those in need of referrals for assistance allows individuals to network and create healthy alliances for positive change.

​About the Author: Lisa Frost is a Licensed Professional Counseling Associate that has obtained an Ed.S. In Mental Health Counseling degree from Murray State University. Ms. Frost is currently under the clinical supervision of Dr. Justin Brogan. Lisa has additional education in the areas of addiction and substance use disorders as well as trauma informed care, anger management, and domestic violence counseling practices. Lisa is currently employed with Emerald Counseling Center as an outpatient Mental Health Counselor who specializes in addiction and substance abuse counseling in addition to providing general mental health counseling. Lisa grew up near the Murray area in rural western Kentucky. She enjoys riding and rehabilitating horses and spending time with her children. 

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