By Erin Levi

QUEENS, NY—In a significant milestone for the Bukharian Jewish community, there have been no overdose-related deaths in the last 30 months, a remarkable turnaround for a community that has long grappled with drug-related deaths, especially among its youth.
«For the last five years, we lost over 42 members of our community aged 19 to 46 to addiction,» reflects Yukhan Binaminov, founder of Yuhan’s Way, a Queens-based non-profit organization instrumental in combating addiction within the community. “This awful disease will continue to take more if we don’t help our troubled youth.”
Yuhan’s Way, established by the 61-year-old Binaminov after losing his nephew to addiction 19 years ago, offers a comprehensive array of hands-on services aimed at helping individuals overcome various forms of addiction, including gambling, sexual, drugs, and alcohol. The organization’s mission extends beyond mere rehabilitation, encompassing detoxification support, family counseling, and the critical task of placing addicts in appropriate rehab facilities in and outside of the United States, tailored to their specific needs, including religious affiliations and insurance situations.
Currently, the organization has 42 participants in in-patient clinics for those requiring intensive support, and more than 60 participants benefitting from outpatient programs.
“We have to come together as a community, join efforts and help in battle this vicious disease,” said Binaminov, who otherwise fears the community stands to lose a catastrophic “500 people in the next five years.”

An important factor that has likely contributed to the recent success is the introduction of a lifesaving Narcan initiative nearly 12 months ago. Responding to the rapidly growing opioid overdose crisis, the UJA-Federation of New York spearheaded this initiative, partnering with The Jewish Board, a licensed Narcan provider, to distribute free Narcan kits through 12 community-based institutions. Each site, including prominent locations such as the Bukharian Jewish Community Center of Forest Hills and Kehilat Sephardim of Ahavat Achim of Flushing, has a dedicated point of contact responsible for training and distributing Narcan to community members.
“This program is a proactive effort to address the challenge of opioid-related incidents within the Bukharian Jewish community. By distributing Narcan kits at trusted and known community institutions, we are making the kits much more accessible and hopefully helping prevent overdose deaths,” said David Aronov, special advisor for community and external relations at UJA-Federation of New York, when the program launched in August 2023.
Despite its successes, Yuhan’s Way struggles with a lack of funding from within the Bukharian community — taking to platforms like GoFundMe to fundraise for individuals — and navigates the frequent changes in NYC addiction treatment laws. (Most funding comes directly from the deep pockets of Binaminov himself, who is a successful entertainer.) Additionally, language barriers pose a hurdle for new immigrants, and there is often denial and resistance from addicts and their families. However, these obstacles have not deterred Yuhan’s Way from its mission. Binaminov, who was born in Tashkent and emigrated to the US in 1991, is well-equipped to bridge the gap between the community and crucial resources.
Yuhan’s Way claims to have saved 250 lives through its tireless efforts and has established partnerships with various rehab centers, including Genesis in Brooklyn, Phoenix in Israel, and Renaissance-Inter in Bulgaria. The organization has also built a robust network of volunteers, including medical professionals, and secured funding from other organizations to support their cause.
A pivotal part of Yuhan’s Way’s strategy is its focus on ethnic-based treatment (Binaminov has developed a Jewish-specific technique) and the involvement of parents in the recovery process. Binaminov criticizes the current methods used by medical professionals and the government, emphasizing the need for a more culturally tailored approach to addiction treatment.
As part of its ongoing efforts, Yuhan’s Way aims to raise $3 million to construct a new facility equipped with detox facilities, food services, and shelter. This facility will provide a safe and supportive environment for Jewish people struggling with addiction, further bolstering the community’s fight against this pervasive issue.
Binaminov’s dedication extends beyond the organization’s programs. He writes columns for local newspapers and contributes scientific discoveries to online platforms. Additionally, he is developing a radio podcast to educate the Russian and English-speaking communities about addiction.
“I’m spending my time my money to improve the psychological environment of our youngest generation,” said Binaminov, in a bid to safeguard the community. «Every day, we spend money on clothes, shoes, toothpaste, cigarette books, and religious supplies for our participants. We are committed to supporting dependent participants in Israel, Bulgaria, and across the United States.»
The achievement of 30 months without an overdose is a testament to the resilience and dedication of Yuhan’s Way and the broader Bukharian community in Queens. This milestone, bolstered by the new Narcan initiative, shows that with the right support and resources, addiction can be overcome, and lives transformed. May this inspiring streak continue, bringing more hope and healing to the community. Amen.

For more information about Yuhan’s Way, and to donate, visit or call (917)710-6440.