Drug Abuse Among Homeless People in Miami

Table of Contents


Little Havana is located in Miami, Florida. It is a diverse neighborhood, full of rich Caribbean and South American cultures. Most of the population is represented by Latino Americans. The neighborhood is very much developed; most of its residents have full access to various social institutions and cultural sights. The most vulnerable population of this area is homeless people that succumb to drug abuse. Due to the lack of health awareness, homeless people suffer the most without the appropriate access to health care. That is why this paper will discuss this problem thoroughly, to better assess the disaster of drug abuse among homeless people, and develop ways to counter this issue.

Vulnerable Population Overview

Even though the neighborhood, in general, is properly developed, the problem of homeless people is still severe. Various groups of individuals were forced to live on the streets, due to spiking levels of economic instability and problems of the estate market. Severely depressed, they are slowly losing any hope to integrate back into society, which leads to alcohol or drug abuse. This form of abuse dramatically affects their already shattered well-being. If this health-related trend will continue, the number of people that suffer from various addictions will grow tremendously. The issue itself also affects the society of Little Havana as a whole; depressed homeless people that suffer from drug abuse become reckless and provoke the high levels of civil unrest in the streets. This problem also cannot be tied to some specific ethnic group and affects different kinds of people, no matter their racial background.

Strengths, Risk Factors, and/or Barriers

There are two pressing issues that affect the problem of drug abuse through the population of homeless people. They are the consequences of rapidly developing projects, aimed at the constant improvement of the Little Havana neighborhood, but only for the specific class (Feldman & Jolivet, 2014). Expansive gentrification of this neighborhood caters to the population of the middle class, while the less fortunate groups of people can receive only a limited amount of support.

Welfare programs are the strong point of the Little Havana community; but they are focused only on the provision for the homeless (Feldman & Jolivet, 2014). There is no properly implemented program that allows for the integration of homeless people back into an economically active society. Such social institutions as shelters for the homeless can support this group of individuals for some time, but they do not provide the homeless people with the means to improve and get back on track (Feldman & Jolivet, 2014). Moreover, a lot of homeless people simply don’t know about the local institutions of social support and cannot access even this limited amount of provision.

Another issue that affects this vulnerable group of people is the lack of health awareness in general. It is the issue that is present throughout the whole society, each and every group, but it affects the homeless people the most. People, especially homeless individuals, are not well informed about the dangers of drug abuse (Ibabe, Stein, Nyamathi, & Bentler, 2014). Homeless people simply do not know well enough about the health consequences of alcoholism or illegal substances abuse. Granted, there is an increasing number of various programs that improve the health awareness among people, and it is indubitably the strength of this community; but those programs simply cannot reach the homeless population of Little Havana.

Community Resources

Little Havana possesses the ample amount of community resources that provide health care. Various medical centers exist that work with highly specialized and advanced forms of health care, such as cardiology centers or mental health facilities. Numerous private clinics also exist, with the formidable amount of drug stores. Little Havana also has various places that provide people with traditional medicine. Latino herbal shops and numerous other places of alternative medicine are very active in this community. The resources itself are adequate and competent, but the access to those services is limited. Health care resources are underutilized and can’t cover various groups of socially vulnerable individuals, such as homeless people.

Community Health Problem Diagnosis

The priority health problem of Little Havana that can be positively affected by community health nurse is the issue of substance abuse. This health-related problem affects the homeless people of Little Havana the most. This group of vulnerable individuals suffers from the ignorance on the subject of long-lasting health problems provoked by the drug abuse (Ibabe et al., 2014). Community health nurses can tackle this issue through direct communication with these socially vulnerable people. If community nurses thoroughly explain to their patients the horrendous consequences of substance abuse, it will help to facilitate the awareness of the health risks provoked by various drugs. Healthy People 2020 states the similar objective in one of its various programs. SA-4 “Increase the proportion of adolescents who perceive great risk associated with substance abuse” (US Department of Health and Human Services: Healthy People 2020, 2016, Objectives: Substance Abuse, para 4).


Even though Little Havana is the well-developed community, due to various negative economic tendencies, the number of homeless people is on the increase. They have no way to integrate themselves back into society and succumb to the drug abuse, due to high levels of depression. Therefore, the priority health problem of Little Havana will be the substance abuse among socially vulnerable individuals. To fix this issue, community nursing staff must communicate directly with affected individuals. When every part of the society is aware of the dangers of drug abuse, this issue will dissolve by itself.


Feldman, M., & Jolivet, V. (2014). Back to Little Havana: Controlling gentrification in the Heart of Cuban Miami. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38(4), 1266-1285.

Ibabe, I., Stein, J. A., Nyamathi, A., & Bentler, P. M. (2014). Predictors of substance abuse treatment participation among homeless adults. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 46(3), 374-381.

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