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Does Heroin Overdose Signal Bigger Problem For Brooklyn Ultra-Orthodox?

The public health crisis of rampant opioid abuse has reached the insular ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn. Malky Klein, a 20-year-old ultra-Orthodox woman from Borough Park, died of an overdose last month, the New York Post reported.

Jewish volunteer ambulances were called to the Klein home on June 24th after Klein’s mother found her unconscious in bed. Within an hour, doctors had pronounced her dead.

“We’re definitely losing more people to drugs — there’s no question,” Yaakov Behr­man, director of the Crown Heights drug prevention group Operation Survival, told the Post. “It’s getting worse in the United States, it’s getting worse in the world, and it’s affecting our community.”

A friend of Klein’s said that Klein had felt alienated from her community for being less religious — going “off the derech,” or path, in the parlance of Orthodox Jews.

Klein had recently returned from two years of rehab in California, according to the friend.

Advocates say suicide and abuse are growing problems in the Orthodox world.

Contact Ari Feldman at [email protected] or on Twitter @aefeldman.


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