New Parents and Drug Addicts Have More In Common Than They Think

Posted by - Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Times are tough and budgets are tight. Everyone seems to be cutting spending – in likely and unlikely places.

The 'blow' to the economy has everyone ditching everything from essential necessities to expensive addictions.

Luxuries? Forget 'em. Basic goods? Only in minimum quantities. That seems to be the most popular trend for a growing number of struggling households in America. 

According to consumer-goods companies, something shocking is happening: people are cutting back drastically, sometimes to the detriment of their own children.

In the economic standstill, parents are buying far fewer diapers than they need. On average, changing a diaper 6 times per day will cost approximately $1,500 a year. In the past year, that has become an intensified burden for the average American family. 

As a result, in a study conducted in the four weeks leading up to September 4, diaper sales in the U.S dropped by 1 percent when compared to last year's number-of-diapers-sold. Dollar sales slumped down even more; by about 3 percent. Huggies diaper sales fell by 4 percent.

Huggies
Image courtesy of GiveMeNeither.

To combat this new trend, companies are catering their marketing to the growing group of frugal consumers:

To bring down the overall cost of diapers, P&G has increased the number of diapers in some brands' packaging, and it's offering more coupons via monthly newspaper inserts and direct mail, spokeswoman Jennifer Chelune says.

To encourage Pampers sales, P&G launched a rewards program that lets customers amass points they can spend on gifts.

Sandy Gill, a mother in Chicago, says she spoiled her children through hard times until her husband was laid off in May. Since then, she says, she has started combining Web coupons with store coupons, loading up on free samples at the doctor's office and writing "sob story" letters to her favorite baby-formula company to get discount vouchers. "Anything that's on sale, I'll buy," she says.

Conversely, diaper-rash ointment sales are on the rise. Diaper rash and more serious infections have become major concerns for parents as children are in dirty diapers longer and/or in poorer quality diapers. Doctors across the nation have been commenting on how the poor economy is starting to take a very obvious toll on the well-being of America's children...

Interestingly enough, New York has recorded some shocking data regarding the stagnant economy as well. Aside from people cutting some basic goods out of their lives to balance their budgets, some addicts are even ditching their bad habits – simply because they can't afford it.

Data obtained by The Post suggests that a surprising number of coke addicts residing in New York have recently quit the habit.

Dr. Stephen Ross, director of NYU's Langone Center of Excellence on Addiction, treats many patients who have been telling him they, quite frankly, just don't have the money to buy cocaine anymore.

Powder-cocaine costs about $60-$80 per gram...not a cheap addiction to maintain whether you're unemployed, working part-time, or full-time and dealing with inflation on top of all your loans and bills.

Perhaps this is why the number of deaths in which cocaine played a part, in New York City, dropped by nearly 43 percent from 2006 to 2010: from 478 to 274 (204 fewer deaths in total). Fewer individuals have sought treatment for addiction as well. Last year 7,693 New Yorkers took steps towards recovery in comparison with 9,654 in 2008...

It's interesting how the fragile economy and frugal living affects all levels of socioeconomics in varying ways: it's saving the lives of addicts, yet leading to increased infections in newborns.

*Indented excerpts from The Wall Street Journal.

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