Heroin and Pill Overdoses Claim Immigrant Victims, Catching Families Off Guard

July 22, 2016

(New York Times) – The country’s epidemic abuse of opioids — heroin, or prescription pills — is often seen as an affliction of white suburban and rural communities, but it has also spread to New York City’s immigrant neighborhoods. There is no city data that breaks down drug abuse by ethnicity, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it is emerging or even worsening where it already has a foothold. Experts and those enmeshed in the fight against drugs see many possible explanations. Immigrant parents are often unfamiliar with the signs of drug abuse and may not know how to navigate the world of treatment and recovery. Immigrant families, steeped in traditions, can also have an especially strong culture of shame around addiction that discourages asking for help.