The director of an Islamic funeral home located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn says that he has buried six young me in the past two years. This has also been said by neighbors who have been closely following the events at the funeral home. Although initial reports said that the young men died of heart attacks, it has been discovered that the main cause was heroin overdose. What is baffling is that eve with the widespread awareness about drug abuse in the area; the families are not comfortable discussing the deaths and would not respond to any question about them. It points towards a common trend especially among immigrants.
According to the son of the funeral home director, the families ask them straight up not to say anything. This is because in Islam, drug overdose is considered something similar to suicide. It therefore is a big sin that should not be associated with any family. For the Arab American families, this is a big shame that they are not prepared to bear ad that is the reason why they ask the funeral home not to say anything. In fact, they are prepared to offer anything and everything in exchange of the silence of anyone who knows that their son has died because of heroin overdose. Clearly, this is a major setback in the fight against opioids abuse in this area.
This is not just a problem associated with the Arab Americans; the Russian speaking Americans in Brooklyn are affected by the same problem too. Among this community, heroin abuse has raged for over two decades and the effects have been hard hitting. According to studies, some of the addicts were pilfering pills from the elderly in their families. Their culture directs them to live in multigenerational households and therefore, teenagers are more likely to have easy access to pills that have been prescribed for their grandparents. This ease of access has led to addictions and deaths among the youth.
The opioids abuse epidemic in the county, which includes heroin and prescription pills, has always been seen as an affliction of either the white suburban community or the rural people. Nobody ever thought that it was eating up the immigrants in New York neighborhoods until these revelations came to the fore. Although there is no formal data from the city that breaks down drug abuse data to the communities, there is no doubt that it is emerging are even worsening among the immigrants. Where it already has a foothold, people are dying and the families are in denial. Clearly, something has to be done to stop this.
According to the experts, there are many possible explanations to this situation. For instance, immigrant parents have no idea when it comes to the signs of drug abuse or addiction. Their children take these pills while under their care and they have no clue. Even when they start showing signs of addition, the parents presume that it is some kind of illness. They only find out about it when it is too late.