What should I have done?

Money is fungible. If they scrape up $20, by whatever means, they have a choice of buying drugs or food. Since someone already gave them food, they’re more likely to spend the $20 on drugs.

Financially supporting addicts does NOT help them.

If that were true, you could wean people of drugs by just restricting them to a subsistence amount of money, which they would (by your reasoning) be forced to spend on food. Do you think that’s what would happen?

Generally, if a drug addict has money, they will buy drugs, however hungry they are. If you give them food, the difference you have made is that they will not starve.

And purchased food is not fungible with money, it cannot be sold.

No. Any competent professional will tell you that giving money to addicts is a very bad idea.

Giving money includes buying food, paying rent, giving them a car, and paying their cell phone bill, amongst other things.

We were discussing giving food. Cite contradicting your claim:


[quote from article edited to show bullet points only, with explanatory detail omitted]

Yeah, or saved someone from being robbed or the girl from turning a couple of tricks. Not having food isn’t going to force them into a rational decision of forgoing drugs. it doesn’t work like that. They will manage to get the drugs and food either way, or at least the drugs. Helping them or not is a personal individual decision.

That’s why in the OP’s situation I would have gotten them a gym membership.

Cite in support of my claim:


You’re not going to tough love a total stranger into getting clean. Buying them food isn’t going to get them clean, either, but at least they get a hot meal.

Promises Malibu doesn’t exactly have the best of reputations. And even then, I doubt they’d find a problem with giving some homeless person a freaking hamburger ONE time.

You’re right about the reputation of Promises. I had edited my post from this morning, because I was on mobile and finding a cite was proving to be a pain, but they have a reputation of scamming people. They’re a for-profit rehab, so they probably wouldn’t give a homeless guy a hamburger, but I wouldn’t put much stock in their treatment methods. Their Wikipedia page mentions a lot of issues along with a high price tag.

You said “any competent professional” as though it were a settled issue. So let’s at least agree that food is not a straightforward issue, and that experts differ on where to draw the line.

If an addict is still high functioning, with money and a home, then we can all agree that buying them a $200 bag of groceries each week would not be sensible, because that would just free up funds to enable them to buy more drugs in the way that you describe.

But that didn’t appear to be the kind of situation the OP was describing.

If somebody is homeless, destitute or nearly so, possibly malnourished, then buying them a single meal is likely to improve their health without enabling their drug addiction. It’s a judgment call, and sometimes not an easy one.

And although I think we’ve stipulated that in this case they were drug addicts, it’s worth noting that not all homeless people are drug addicts, of course.

Right, but maybe their family is trying to tough love them, and somebody else coming along and giving them food is just undermining the family’s efforts.

Or maybe their family doesn’t know where they are and is worried about what will happen to them, and hope that won’t starve or freeze to do. :dubious:

Either way, it’s not up to me to treat their addiction, nor is it any of my business. HOWEVER, if I feel like doing somebody a solid and giving them a measely burger, that is my business.

(Besides, if that’s the case, then maybe the so-called “tough love” isn’t working. And like I said, fuck “Promises Malibu”. It’s just a fancy country club for celebs to dry out and most reputable medical professionals condemn it.)

If I want to give someone a sandwich, too bad.

And letting them starve is? I’d rather they stay fed and addicted if they must, then spend their money on drugs and struggle with malnutrition because getting a fix came before feeding themselves.

No, it’s NOT your business to insert yourself into someone’s addiction, or their family dynamics.

That’s really stupid. Gym workouts will just make them even more hungry.

But they will get that workout feeling that is like the runner’s high, and that will help them wean off the pound cake.

FFS, how do I even know if they’re addicts? You’re making an awful lot of assumptions. :rolleyes:

For all I know, they’re mentally ill, ran away because Mom and Dad were abusive, got kicked out for being gay/dating someone their parents don’t like/got a nose ring, etc.

Or hell, maybe they’re reptilians and they know a way to use the meat to blow up the planet!

I don’t see where allowing anyone to starve has any place in a supposedly civilized society. Starving an addict doesn’t cause them to seek help. If anything, it causes them to make worse decisions in order to not feel the hunger.

You know what they say about people who assume. :slight_smile: