Drug Use

Drug use amongst people experiencing homelessness takes various forms: injection, smoking, snorting, and huffing are likely the most common, usually as either the cause of or a response to life on the street. In some cases, individuals may begin using drugs in order to feel a part of or accepted by a community, or partake initially to strengthen social bonds. People struggling with untreated mental illnesses may use street drugs as a form of self-medication.

Typically, drug use (as opposed to alcohol use or gambling) is most commonly seen among homeless youth and young adults, and much more prevalent among homeless populations than housed, perhaps in part due to the high cost of obtaining certain substances. However, not all drugs are pricey: in some areas, easy-to-obtain and even legal substances such as glue, paint thinner, spray paint, subber cement, shoe polish, and other inhalants, lower barriers to access. 

In their own words: Michelle | Philadelphia, USA