The Magazine of The Orthodox Union
and Substance Abuse: Shattering the Myths
By Dr. Benzion Twerski
These agencies can offer guidance and refer you to appropriate facilities and treatment
JACS (Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically dependent and Significant
426 W. 58th Street
New York, NY 10019
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Information
Room 10A56, Parklawn Building
Rockville, MD 20857
*consult local phone directory for intergroup office*
Ohr Ki Tov
4810 Beach 48th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11224
Counter Force (counseling/prevention services)
(Torah Umesorah Program)
610 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11230
(Treatment center mentioned in "An Addict in Our Home")
112 Franklin Place
Woodmere, NY 11598
An excellent book to review the subject matter is Getting Tough on Gateway Drugs: A Guide
for the Family by Robert L. Dupont, Jr., M.D., (American Psychiatric Press, 1984).
alcohol/drug experimentation and use
We Can Still Save the Future --
If We Dare
To summarize, I urge that several goals be relentlessly pursued by us as individuals and
as a community:
Begin to discuss the problems of addiction openly; in your community, your family and your
schools. We have tried to avoid the problem, and in doing so, we have failed our children.
Be alert for signs of alcohol/drug experimentation and use (see
sidebar). Refrain from denial, e.g., believing that "it cannot happen in my
kehillah" (shul, yeshivah, family). It is a contagious disease and contaminates
without respect for the kehillah, shul, yeshivah or family.
Address addiction as a disease, which requires treatment. Do not take it as rebellion or
bad behavior, with the focus on punishments.
There are resources available to cope with the problems of the addict and his/her family.
(See listings). These should all be utilized, even if you think
there only may be a problem.
I often ask an addict seeking therapy a simple question: Would you
be willing to report the names of the dealers who sold you drugs to the law enforcement
authorities? The addict's answer may well reflect his or her true level of motivation to
Likewise, the readiness of a community to pursue those who would destroy it is a
reflection of its level of caring about every precious soul in that community.
Allowing drug activity to continue is tantamount to supporting it. If you or someone you
know is aware of the names of dealers, report them to the police or the local office of
the Drug Enforcement Agency. Our community deserves protection -- and we are the only ones
who can provide it.
Dr. Benzion Twerski is
the staff psychologist at Substance Abuse Services at Elizabeth General Medical Center in
Elizabeth, New Jersey. He is on the professional advisory boards of JAADD (Jewish
Association for Attention Deficit Disorder) and JACS (Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically
dependent persons, and Significant others). He has written and published in a wide variety
of lay and professional periodicals, and lectures on addictive disorders in the Jewish
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