Letters to the Editor

Letter: Homelessness and substance abuse

Some people see homeless encampments as places where folks experiencing a little bad luck merrily congregate while roasting hot dogs ‘round the campfire. Wrong.

Open-air drug markets, the term used now in many parts of the world, is a much better description of reality. It is used to precisely describe what is often the root cause of the increasingly visible homeless population that has become commonplace in Anchorage and through out the country.

Until it is realized that homelessness is usually a function of substance abuse and often mental health issues, rather than the primary problem, additional shelters will do little to effect any meaningful long-term solutions. Shelters, while helpful, will need to be integrated into a comprehensive substance abuse program if any real lasting reduction in homelessness is to be achieved.

— Eric Love


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