Almost everyone imagines a drug addict as a homeless, dirty bum tweaking and shivering under a bridge somewhere. That could not be further from the truth.
Addiction, whatever the substance, does not separate us in genders, income brackets, nationalities or age groups. Addiction is a very real issue for everyone, regardless of your place of location, a mansion in Beverly Hills or under a storm drain bridge. Financially comfortable people are affected by drug-related issues just as much, if not more. Wealthy individuals encounter stress, genetic predisposition to addiction and mental illness just as much as anyone else. That said, there are a few things that make them more prone to drug abuse than your average homeless person.
Money to waste
The most obvious reason is the ready access to large amounts of money. Drugs are not cheap, neither is an addiction to them, so having a six digit bank account can help a desperate addict fuel their cravings that much more. Where a poor addict might be forced to resort to crime or other embarrassing and frowned upon activities like prostitution just to score the next hit, a wealthy person can buy all the coke, heroin or any other drug in bulk if he wanted to. This ease of access makes it very easy to go off rails and straight into the abyss. Any addict out there will tell you, having an unlimited supply of their choice of drug would lead them to the grave sooner than later. Being wealthy opens a lot of doors, even those that should remain closed.
Feeling guilty about their wealth is a common occurrence. Especially for those who are born in wealthy families, all that money just given to them. They feel guilty that they have this fancy and privileged life, while there are countless people struggling to feed their families and keep their heads above water. Many will dispute the validity of such guilt, but the fact of the matter is that it does not matter what is a person guilty of, what matters is, that the guilt is there and it can manifest from any number of reasons. A person feeling guilty, regardless of reasons, can be very susceptible to depression and self-harm. Anything that makes them feel better is welcomed, and in combination with the aforementioned expendable income, it’s a fast-lane to addiction.
The complete polar opposite of feeling guilt, there are many out there that feel entitled and better than the rest of us. Being rich it’s easy to fall into this way of thinking. Often children grow up being always told that they are better than everyone else because they have opportunities, fortune and connections that most people don’t. Never experiencing the need to work a day in their lives, they grow up feeling like they don’t need to earn their money and others do it for them, that the world and other people “below” their standard, owes them something. This sense of entitlement is oddly enough, not exclusive to wealthy individuals. There are people who live all their lives on welfare and social support, therefore never needing to work hard for their rewards. Therefore both rich and poor can fall for this self-entitlement and are just as prone to addiction as each other.
Get out of jail free card
There is an untold number of wealthy people who believe that the laws are not written for them. That they are somehow above the law. Plenty of disposable income for bribes and influential connections that life in luxury provides makes them feel that whatever they do, it’s not wrong because they can afford it. Being able to afford an expensive lawyer in case of being caught red-handed or being able to pay bail whatever the amount, means they can do whatever they want. The law is also regrettably very biased. Being pulled over for a routine check-up, a person in an Italian sports car is less likely to be searched and bothered with questions than a regular Joe driving a van from his 9-5 workplace. It’s sad, unfair and, unfortunately, very true. Having this proverbial “get out of jail free card” in their pocket, wealthy individuals feel like they are less likely to be charged for engaging in criminal activities.
Addiction does not discriminate. People of all walks of life have been affected by addiction, regardless of their income or socioeconomic status. Many heroin addicts today attribute their fall into addiction to prescription medication. Why you may ask? They say it’s because it was so easy to get their drugs, they just had to go to a pharmacy and get a refill. Being wealthy and with virtually unlimited funds to spend, is like having a prescription for any drug at any time. In the end of the day, both rich and poor find themselves at the same place. A place and time in their lives where they need to make a decision – continue down the path of certain death or seek professional help and turn their lives around in a rehabilitation center.