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Strength to Strength

Last weekend Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Oscar award-winning actor, was found dead in his Greenwich Village home.

Although he had reported himself clear for almost 30 decades, early word is that apparently he died of a heroin overdose.

In July 2013, Cory Monteith, an actor on the TV show “Glee,” died as a result of a toxic mixture of heroin and alcohol.

Maryland and Pennsylvania reported a near-epidemic of heroin related deaths last week. The heroin was laced with the sedative fentanyl.

The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency has said that heroin has hit the Northeast United States like a tidal wave. It is inexpensive and easily available. The federal Substance and Mental Health Services Administration reported that more than 669,000 Americans over the age of 12 had used heroin at some point during 2012.

Does this have anything to do with Jews? Absolutely it does.

As we report this week, substance abuse affects our community just as it affects others. Strength to Strength, a non-12-step program based at Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, helps parents cope; similarly, JACS – Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically dependent persons, & Significant others – aimed specifically at Jews, works both with people battling a range of substance abuses and with their families. (To learn more about Strength to Strength, call 201-408-1403 or email cleslie@jccotp.org; for JACs, call 201-837-9090 or email ira@jfsbergen.org.

Being Jewish does not render us immune from the ravages of addiction. There should be no stigma attached to recognizing that fact and reaching out for help.

PJ/JP

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