What is HAMSA?
HAMSA, or Helping Atlantans Manage Substance Abuse, is a comprehensive substance abuse program for the Jewish community that is building bridges between Jews affected by substance abuse and their families and the support of the Jewish community. Together with clergy and members of the community, JF&CS’s HAMSA program is working to dispel the myth that Jews are not affected by substance abuse and addiction issues. HAMSA serves the community as an all-inclusive resource for education and clinical services relating to substance abuse.
Addiction in the Jewish Community
A deep level of shame and denial exists within many Jewish communities across the country regarding addiction. A common myth is that Jews do not have problems with drugs or alcohol. The reality is that alcoholism and drug addiction do not discriminate; they affect Jews as often as they do any other group. Roughly 10% of the United States population is affected by alcoholism or drug addiction. This indicates that 10% of the 5.5 million Jews living in the United States are affected by substance abuse issues. A key objective of the HAMSA program is to promote an open and honest dialogue about substance abuse within our community.
Addiction does not only manifest itself in the form of drugs or alcohol. There are many different substances and behaviors that people can find themselves addicted to. These include, but are not limited to:
- The internet
Many of the resources and treatment facilities offered to alcoholics and addicts are also trained and equipped to treat other and multiple addictive behaviors.