Drug addiction is one of the direst concerns our society is dealing with at present. According to statistics, over 23.5 million Americans, or 12% of the population over the age of 12, are addicted to some form of drug. Likewise, drug-related casualties account for more than 20,000 deaths every year.
Fortunately, the perception of drug addiction has shifted over the last few years. At present, addiction is considered as a serious medical condition that warrants specialized addiction treatment. As such, there are a number of available treatments for long-term aftercare which drug addicts can participate in that would help them deal with the disease. One of the most effective is Narcotics Anonymous.
What is Narcotics Anonymous?
Narcotics Anonymous or NA is a non-profit organization for men and women who are dealing with drug addiction and abuse. It has no social, religious, economic or racial affiliation and it is a free program. It helps recovering addicts and current drug abusers come to terms with their condition. It also provides necessary information for these afflicted people about the best way to maintain sobriety after inpatient addiction treatment. NA is known for conducting group meetings wherein members can share their experiences with battling their addictions.
The History of Narcotics Anonymous
The roots of Narcotics Anonymous can be traced back to the Alcoholics Anonymous Program, which gained popularity in the 1940s. The first NA meeting was conducted in Los Angeles, California.
Since then, the organization has grown exponentially. Narcotics Anonymous branches have been established in North America, South America, Australia and the Middle East. 63,000 weekly meetings transpire in over 132 countries.
How Does an Individual Become a Member of Narcotics Anonymous?
Narcotics Anonymous requires only one thing from their prospective members – the desire to stop using and abusing their drug of choice. Everyone is welcomed to join the community so long as they are willing to admit that they are an addict and that they want to stop being one.
Members are not required to pay a monthly due or fee to attend meetings. However, some NA groups rent out spaces to conduct their monthly meetings.
What Can Be Expected from a Narcotics Anonymous Meeting?
NA meetings are integral to the effectivity of the Narcotics Anonymous program. There are two types of NA meetings – open and closed. Anyone is welcome to attend open meetings – even individuals who aren’t dependent or those who do not abuse drugs. On the other hand, closed meetings are reserved for addicts and those who feel like they might be developing a drug problem.
The format and content of NA meetings vary from NA group to NA group. Nevertheless, NA meetings often involve a discussion of available NA literature. Furthermore, some meetings may include an “open sharing” segment wherein anyone in attendance can speak about and share their experiences with drugs.
Is Joining Narcotics Anonymous Effective?
Official Narcotics Anonymous literature does not produce accurate estimates of the program’s efficacy. Moreover, the group acknowledges that is program might not work for everyone. There are, however, many individual accounts detailing the success of Narcotics Anonymous.
According to members, NA has been effective for them because it provided an effective support system that understands the strife that they are going through. Former addicts claim that NA has helped the figure out how to trust themselves in the midst of real life temptations.