For many years it has always been believed that substance abuse is not a common problem in the Jewish Community. Many believe that those who subscribe to the Jewish culture are immune to the broader society’s significant issues. Sadly, Jewish morals, well-rooted drug culture, and strong family ties cannot protect society from drug addiction. This calls for acknowledgment that, indeed, the Jewish Community is vulnerable to addiction just like anyone else. Substance abuse and addiction in the Jewish Community is a significant issue that has been contributed by several factors discussed in this article.
Emphasis on morality
The Jewish culture emphasizes Jewish citizens’ need to live a morally upright life compared to other world citizens. The focus on morality is deeply rooted in the biblical teachings that never gave place for immorality but emphasized character as a man’s way. Extreme focus on morality places much pressure on those abusing drugs since their actions are considered immoral and non-compliant to the biblical teachings. The emphasis on morality also hinders those suffering from drug and substance abuse to open up and explain their problems to get the necessary help. This, in turn, creates further challenges such as deeper entrenchment into drug abuse. The recovery from drug abuse involves reaching out to members of the same culture to offer the necessary assistance and guidance. Failure to which these addicts or those on their way to becoming addicts will treat drugs to overcome their challenges and engage in more abuse. The means to overcome the addiction problem calls for the Jewish culture to encourage the addicts to open up despite their transgressions, seek rehabilitation, and live the moral life expected of them.
Lack of someone to confide in
People’s type of view on drug abusers makes it very difficult for addicts to confide in someone. Most people believe that drug users have lost hope in life, sleep in bars, and their future is useless. This has sent most addicts to early graves, and more use of the drugs to find comfort due to rejection from society’s members. Stigmatizing and despising them makes the Jewish culture of loving and helping those in need fade away. To solve this problem, we need to stop shaming addicts and accommodate them. We need to offer a shoulder and listen to the addicts to feel wanted and valued. This will speed up the recovery process since they will have a stable state of mind knowing they are part of a caring family. Studies have shown that addicts do best in rehab centers relevant to the culture of the individual. In their Jewish treatment center, addicts get to meet like-minded people; thus, an addict feels more comfortable about being open and honest about what they experience. Openness is valuable during addiction recovery, and when an addict finds someone they can confide in, it speeds up the recovery process.
The Jewish way of life and culture is consistent with that of the Bible, which gives specific protocols and rejects other life practices. The advent of modernization interferes with everything that the Bible upholds, such as avoiding drugs. In the wake of modernization, there are sufficient drugs like alcohol and marijuana accessible to all persons regardless of age. Modernization has contributed to the free movement and low cost of drugs and many Jewish citizens currently have access to drugs even in school. Another way modernization has contributed to the addiction challenge is the variety of cultures in different countries. The ethics in America and Israel are entirely different. In America, teenagers can access drugs such as alcohol at an early age, mostly during social events such as parties. When Jewish teenagers leave their home countries to America or other countries to pursue further education or careers, they have unlimited access to drugs. Their traditions in foreign lands no longer bound them. They use the drugs since they are away from home and soon end up with addiction problems due to their desire to adventure in the various alien cultures.
Lack of awareness
Most people are not aware that addiction is prevalent among the Jewish Community. This leaves those affected in isolation and without any means of support to overcome addiction. Once people are aware of the problem coming up with a course of action will be easy. This calls for counselors and educators to educate the Community on drugs and substance abuse. Making every individual aware of drug abuse, its effects on mental health, family, and society will be a significant step in helping those affected. It will make it easier to access treatment, rehabilitation centers, and necessary support.
IMAGE SOURCE: https://pixabay.com/images/search/jewish%20community/?/
Acknowledging that addiction is a significant problem among the Jewish Community is the first step to solving the problem and helping the addicts. It is high time members of the Community admit that anyone can succumb to substance abuse since we are all humans. Responses like educational initiatives to alert everyone on the dangers of drugs and initiate treatment and rehabilitation programs will support those affected.