Jewish Journal

Whitney Houston: A Jewish Way of Death

by Pini Herman

February 12, 2012 | 10:58 am

Prescription Drugs?

Whitney Houston died of still unknown causes in the environs of the most densley Jewish political entity besides Kiryas Joel in the United States, Beverly Hills. 

While drowning is being considered and toxicology test results are weeks away, Whitney Houston may have died of the new dominant plague of prescription drugs, evidence of which was found in her room at the Beverly Hilton by the Beverly Hills Police Department.  Whitney Houston ironically died just less than 3 miles from where Michael Jackson was declared dead at UCLA.  This may be epicenter of the prescription drug death triangle.  The epidemiological picture may not be a coincidence with the significant number of Dr. Feel-Good offices populating the expensive real estate of Beverly Hills.

Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States. Fueling the surge in deaths are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol. Among the most commonly abused are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma.

The epidemic of substance abuse has been documented in the Jewish community in the last LA Jewish Population Survey.  It would not be surprising if there was a disproportionate number Jews dying of drug deaths within this general societal trend.

Jews have an unearned reputation for sobriety. The LA Jewish Population Survey found that one-in-forty, or 6000 LA Jewish households reported having at least one member who needed assistance with problems of alcohol or substance abuse. There is a higher acceptance of use of substances such as marijuana in the Jewish community than the general population.

It would not be surprising if there was a disproportionate number Jews dying of drug deaths within this general societal trend.

Pini Herman, PhD. has served as Asst. Research Professor at the University of Southern California Dept. of Geography,  Adjunct Lecturer at the USC School of Social Work,  Research Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles following Bruce Phillips, PhD. in that position (I was recently notified that with 40,000 visitors this year the 15 year old study of the LA Jewish population was third most downloaded study from Berman Jewish Policy Archives in 2011) and is immediate past President of the Movable Minyan a lay-lead independent congregation in the 3rd Street area. Currently he is a principal of Phillips and Herman Demographic Research. To email Pini: pini00003@gmail.com To follow Pini on Twitter:

Tracker Pixel for Entry


View our privacy policy and terms of service.




Bruce Phillips is Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles. He has conducted Jewish population...

Read more.