Submitted by: Jeremy Linestem

The most common stereotype of a drug addict is a poor, uneducated person with low willpower. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, most Americans believe that addiction afflicts only the poor. The truth is that wealthy people become addicted to drugs just as often as poor people. This is because addiction is a neurological condition the result of unalterable changes to a person s neurons. Though different people have different amounts of material wealth, all human beings share the same basic brain chemistry.

Some people make a more nuanced distinction between the rich and poor regarding addiction. They claim that poor people tend to experience living conditions which drive them to use drugs. This is partially true. Financial troubles, communities filled with street crime, and a lack of food and clothing can all drive people to use drugs. However, the root issue in this scenario is stress-related drug use, and rich people are just as susceptible to stress as poor people. In fact, many affluent people seem to have such insatiable desires for material goods that they seem hardly more content or at ease with their lives than people living in poverty.

Wealthy people may also have the most addictive personalities. For those who seek material wealth as a reward in and of itself, making money may be an addiction. Like alcohol, marijuana, and other common drugs, landing a deal or earning a huge bonus can bring a great but short-lived euphoria. In order to experience this high continuously, these people must make ever-larger amounts of money. This behavior pattern is identical to the development of drug tolerance, abuse, and dependency. Since all addictions involve a specific set of neurological changes, it is easy to see how people addicted to wealth could become addicted to mind-altering drugs.

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The social acceptability of certain substances may also contribute to incorrect assumptions about wealth and addiction. For example, extremely affluent people drink alcohol just as much, if not more than poor people. However, the wine, champagne, and expensive spirits they are able to afford are often deemed more socially acceptable than cheap liquor and beer. All of these drinks are equally addictive, and rich and poor people alike can become alcoholics.

Society often applies these arbitrary distinctions to illicit drugs, as well. For example, cocaine (in powder form) is often viewed as a high-society drug because of its price. On the other hand, crack cocaine is typically seen as a street drug for poor people. Most people don t condone the use of either of these substances, but they are much more likely to associate negative stereotypes of addiction with the crack-user. Crack-head has unfortunately become a ubiquitous term in the popular media.

Finally, wealthier people s use and abuse of prescription drugs may contribute to incorrect assumptions about money and addiction. Since people in the middle and upper classes can more easily afford healthcare than poor people, they have greater access to legal yet still addictive pharmaceutical drugs. There may be just as many rich people addicted to Oxycontin and Percocet as there are poor people addicted to crack and meth, but laypeople tend to focus only on the strictly illegal substances when forming their opinions about addiction.

Overall, addiction is a neurological condition which can affect anyone, rich or poor. If you or someone you love is currently struggling with drugs or alcohol, follow the links below to get help now. Our dedicated addiction specialists are standing by to help you take the first steps on the road to recovery.

About the Author: A writer of many different topics and styles, Jeremy is an award-winning linuist and professional cyclist.To speak to an addiction counselor right now (completely confidential) simply click the following link:

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