The opioid epidemic in the United States is staggering. In 2016 alone, roughly 11.5 million Americans 12 and older misused prescription pain medicine. President Trump has declared a public emergency and many states are suing drug manufacturers because of the high costs of treating, jailing, and burying opioid addicts. Drug users are overdosing and dying almost every day in record numbers. The crisis is impacting thousands, if not millions, of Americans, and it’s impacting their families as well.
Now, this opioid crisis is even impacting the real estate industry. In areas where crime rates, like drug use, are high, rental rates and homeownership are very low. For example, in Albuquerque, vacancies nearly doubled from 4.5% to 8.2% in areas with a high crime concentration compared to the city as a whole.
This is not very surprising. There are few people who want to live in an area that is ridden with crime. Families looking to buy homes are probably not going to purchase a house or rent an apartment in an area of town known if it’s high crime rates and drug usage. the problem is that more and more areas are becoming “drug dens” as the opioid crisis is getting worse and worse.
Another real estate problem has arrived from the worsening opioid epidemic. Agents are afraid to show houses. According to the Business Report, there are more than 150,000 real estate agents and brokers in the United States, and close to 38% of agents say that they fear for their personal safety on the job. When it comes to female agents, that number jumps to nearly 50%, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors in 2017.
The estate agents meet strangers in vacant houses all the time, and the biggest fears were things like unlocked or unsecured properties or vacant home showings. Now, they are afraid that these clients are drug addicts. Most real estate agents who represent higher-end properties are worried that opioid addicts are booking showings to raid the medicine cabinets or rob and injure the agent.
This astronomical drug problem is devastating enough considering how many lives it has taken, and now it is seeping its way into unsuspecting lives for more harm and destruction.