This article outlines a history of rulings and beliefs about addiction in Judaism, covering alcohol and substance use and addiction, in the context of a brief account of the development of the status of addiction. It examines the prevalence of alcohol and substance use and abuse among Jews, including a discussion of some of the difficulties in estimating prevalence and of factors involved in changing patterns of use and abuse. Community beliefs and attitudes are examined, using published material and interviews with community leaders and members. Some conclusions are suggested about the impact of religious rulings and of other factors on addiction among Jews. Attention is given to the phenomenon of denial. Therapeutic practices and organisations are described. The scope for further research is identified.
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