UJA Federation of NY launches initiative to combat opioid overdoses in Queens’ Bukharian Jewish community

In response to the rapidly growing opioid overdose crisis among the Bukharian Jewish community in Queens, the UJA-Federation of NY has launched a new initiative to provide 12 community-based institutions with free Narcan kits.

This first-of-its-kind initiative brings together The Jewish Board, a licensed Narcan provider, with the local institutions that will distribute the kits to community members. Each community site will have a point of contact responsible for training and for distribution of Narcan to any community member who may want or need a kit. 

The 12 community distribution sites include:

  • Bukharian Jewish Congregation of Briarwood 
  • LeFrak City Jewish Center (Corona)
  • Kehilat Sephardim of Ahavat Achim (Flushing)
  • Netzach Outreach (Flushing)
  • Anshey Shalom (Forest Hills)
  • Beth Gavriel Bukharian Congregation (Forest Hills)
  • Bukharian Jewish Community Center (Forest Hills)
  • Emet Outreach (Fresh Meadows)
  • Shaare Shlomo (Fresh Meadows)
  • Bukharian Jewish Congregation of Jamaica Estates 
  • House of Torah (Jamaica Estates)
  • Congregation Ner Mordechai (Kew Gardens)

Rivka Nissel, LCSW, director of Jewish community services at the Jewish Board, said the organization has supported those in the community struggling with addiction for over 40 years, and their commitment to “combating this crisis is stronger than ever.” 

“This partnership is a powerful step toward addressing the opioid overdoses that continue to rise and steal the lives of our loved ones,” Nissel said. 

David Aronov, special advisor community and external relations, UJA-Federation of New York, said that by “distributing Narcan kits at trusted and known community institutions, they’re making the kits much more accessible and hopefully helping prevent overdose deaths.” 

New York City Health reported 2,668 overdose deaths in 2021, an increase from 2,103 deaths in 2020. Also in NYC, for the fifth year in a row, fentanyl was the most common substance involved, present in 80% of overdose deaths in 2021.

Naloxone, for example Narcan, is a medicine that can help people who are overdosing on an opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Opioids include prescription medications, heroin, and fentanyl. Sometimes other drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine, are mixed, or laced with fentanyl. 

For more information on accessing Narcan, contact Devora Jaye at The Jewish Board at 347-735-0583 or email JCSrecovery@jbfcs.org.