Are all homeless people drug addicts and alcoholics? Homelessness has become a huge problem for America. One approximation of the annual number of homeless in America is from a study by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, which estimates between 2.3 and 3.5 million people experience homelessness. More than 22 million Americans age 12 and older - nearly 9% of the U.S. population - use illegal drugs, according to the government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. More than half of all Americans aged 12 or older report that they are current drinkers. In the latest national survey, 51.9% of those surveyed said they were current drinkers, or an estimate 130.6 million people. This information is from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual interview of approximately 67,500 people, asking about their alcohol and drug use in the past year. Yet even with these extremely high numbers most homeless people are veterans who are mentally ill, people with trouble childhoods and people with poor health. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, 23 percent of homeless people are reported as chronically homeless. According to HUD's definition, a person who is "chronically homeless" is an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition (e.g., substance abuse, serious mental illness, developmental disability, or chronic physical illness) who has either been continuously homeless for a year or more, or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years. In order to be considered chronically homeless, a person must have been sleeping in a place not meant for human habitation and/or in an emergency homeless shelter. One out of 50—or about 1.5 million—American children are homeless each year, according to a 2009 study by the National Center on Family Homelessness. 38% report alcohol use problems , 26% report other drug use problems, 39% report some form of mental...
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