Whenever one thinks of children of wealthy parents, the stigma and stereotype is always, “rich kid”, “spoiled rich child”, etc. There is often a thought of children of wealthy parents never having to work a day in their lives and never having to be responsible for the types of things that most kids are responsible for. It is certainly most commonly believed and agreed upon that children from wealthy families are far less responsible than children from middle class families. One thing that hasn’t been widely publicized though, is that wealthy young adults are far, far more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than middle class or even lower class American youths are.

Studies now go so far as to show that drug and alcohol use is much, much higher among affluent teens than it is among their inner-city counterparts and partners. Going even further and beyond that, surveys have also revealed to us that the full-time college students are two and a half times more likely to experience and have to live with substance abuse or dependence than members of the general population are. Also as the alcohol abuse spectrum is explored, half of all full-time college students reported binge drinking and the use and abuse of illegal or prescription drugs too.

The Connection Between Drugs and Crime

This is not all that wealthy and upper class youths are getting into trouble for though. With the substance abuse comes crime too. Though in today’s day and age crime is widely assumed to be a problem of youth in poverty, the data from recent FBI publications suggest comparable levels of delinquency among well-off suburban students too. What does differ between the two classes of youths is the actual type of rule-breaking. Wealthy youth crime is almost always influenced by drugs and alcohol and involves widespread cheating and random acts of delinquency such as stealing from parents or peers among the affluent. On the other hand though, poor and poverty class youths usually struggle from violent crimes and many of these are from self defense.

The problems of kids in affluence are very real and very legitimate, though not much attention or importance has been granted to them. The overall and very real vulnerabilities of such youth derive from multiple sources and not just from, “irresponsible parents”, as many would think. To begin to make an effort at preventing these problems requires work and a lot of attention directed at multiple different levels including families and communities, and schools and universities too.

Rehabilitation is also of course necessary for those who are currently and actively abusing drugs and alcohol. Many of these upwardly mobile and very wealthy youth will assume positions of power and influence as adults. For their own sake and for the sake of their future families and friends, and for the sake of all they will come to influence as adults, there must be an attendance to their struggles thoughtfully, and with compassion. Rehabilitation is necessary for those addicted, and positive encouragement and punishment for wrongs done and overall education is necessary for those wealthy youths who have caused trouble but who are not addicted to drugs or alcohol.

The wealthy youth is in a lot of ways the future of the economy of the United States. Though the middle class carries the weight of the nation on its shoulders, it is the upper class and the rich Americans that own the corporations and make the biggest decisions. In a way, if these individuals are not addressed and resolved soon then the consequences will be dire indeed.



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