Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to help people struggling with drug addiction to recover. Today it has a massive, worldwide, self-help organization with meetings in over 140 different countries. There are no dues or fees for NA membership. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop their addiction. It is set up in a very similar fashion to Alcoholics Anonymous, except for drug abuse.
- The big difference being NA is designed to help people recovery from addiction, while AA is specifically tailored to help alcoholics find lasting recovery.
The NA format includes regularly scheduled meetings. The meetings are structured as “home groups”. Members are encouraged to have a sponsor (mentor), sharing, a leader; anniversary chips as well as the open and closed meeting idea. They never mention drugs or drug use, only “addiction”. Their primary purpose is to carry the NA message to the addict who still suffers. NA has several recovery books and various forms of literature.
It is a spiritually based program, using a higher power of each individuals understanding. The process of recovery is based on working the 12-Steps process and being of service to others.
There are no dues or fees for NA membership. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop their addiction.
NA was officially founded by Jimmy Kinnon in 1953. The first meeting were held in Los Angeles. It was initially known as AA/NA. In 1943 the first publication was printer called the “Little Brown Book”. It included their modified version of the 12-Steps and other information. In return for not using the AA name, it was granted approval for using the 12-Steps. It was at that point the name was changed to Narcotics Anonymous.
Like most organizations, NA struggled with growing pains and internal disagreements. At one point in 1959 there were no NA meetings at all. NA began to really grow in the 1970’s. In 1970 there were only 20 regular meetings in only the United States. By 1976 there were over 200. IN 1981 there were over 1,100 meetings held in many different countries.
No attendance records are kept so total worldwide membership information is not available. NA is the second largest 12-Step organization in the world.
- As of May 2014 there were 63,000 meetings in 142 countries
Various studies have been conducted to try and help determine the effectiveness of the NA program. In 1990, a study done in London England concluded there was a direct relationship between participation in NA and long-term recovery. They also noted an increase in self-esteem.
A 1995 study done in Australia found that after 12 months 68% of the participants had reduced their drug use and increased their self-esteem.