Fellowship Statistics

Rate of Growth

Since no attendance records are kept, it is difficult to estimate what percentage of those who come to Narcotics Anonymous ultimately achieve long-term abstinence. The only sure indicator of our success is the rapid growth in the number of Narcotics Anonymous groups over the last several years and the rapid spread of Narcotics Anonymous outside North America.

NA was founded in 1953. In 1978, there were fewer than two hundred registered groups in three countries; in 1982, eleven countries had twelve hundred groups; by 1993, there were over 25,000 meetings in over sixty countries. Today (in 2013) there are over 61,000 meetings held every week in 129 countries, speaking over 65 languages.

Survey of the Aotearoa New Zealand Fellowship

Please feel free to download this Information Pamphlet summarising the results of the Survey. This is a representative snapshot of the membership during the week it was held. A total of 546 members answered survey questionnaires, calculated to be a response rate of 75% (or three quarters) of all members. This second survey was a voluntary participation survey by both group and member, conducted at 87 participating NA meetings during survey week – Friday 21 November to Thursday 27 November 2008. The inaugural survey was conducted at 82 participating NA meetings in November 2004.

The survey included 31 questions covering Core Demographics (sex, age, clean time – abstinent from drugs, geographic location, ethnicity, labour force, educational qualifications, occupation, and health), NA Participation (influence on first NA attendance, where the member first got clean, meeting attendance, sponsorship, and the Twelve Steps), and Addiction (length of drug use, drug of choice, most commonly used drug, and criminal convictions).

Core demographics


A total of 317 members were male (58%) and 229 were female (42%).


Members range in age from under 20 to over 70 years old, with the average (and median) age being 39 years.

Clean time

Clean time refers to the current length of time that a member has been abstinent from drugs. It was expected that there would be significantly more people with lower clean time, and the table below indicates this.

Table 1: Current length of clean time
Current Length of Clean Time Percent
0 – less than 6 months 27
6 months – less than 1 year 7
1 year – less than 2 years 12
2 years – less than 5 years 20
5 years- less than 10 years 13
10 years – less than 15 years 9
15 years or more 13

Geographical Location

Table 2: Distribution of members, by area
Area Number Percent
Northern – Hamilton, Auckland and north of Auckland 240 44
Midland – Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu and Wairarapa 45 8
Central – Taranaki, Kapati Coast and the greater Wellington region 96 18
Southern – South Island 165 30

Most members live in cities, and in particular the larger urban areas of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin.


While most members are New Zealand European (77%), the proportion of members who identify as Mäori (16%) is higher than the national average.

Source of income

It is not surprising that addicts in recovery are more likely to source their income from employment, than when they were using drugs. After becoming abstinent, the proportion of addicts identifying as beneficiaries drops from over 60% in the first year of recovery to under 20% for those over 5 years clean. For full analysis of this data please refer to the full survey results.

Educational achievement

The highest educational achievement of members spans postgraduate (21%), and tertiary (24%) through trades (16%), and school qualification (18%) to none (21%).


Members have a diverse range of occupations as Table 3 shows.

Table 3: Current Occupation
Current Occupation Percent
Unskilled / Labourer 7
Service, Sales, Hospitality, Clerical 14
Technical/ Agriculture/ Fishery/ Trades/ Plant & Machine Operator 17
Manager/Professional/Teacher/Educator 19
Health professional 13
Student 3
Craft worker/Artist /Musician/Actor/ All Other 4
None 23

Influence on first NA attendance

Most members reported that the biggest influence on their initial meeting attendance was a treatment centre (43%) or from contact with NA members (25%).

Where members first got clean

Members were questioned on where they first got clean. Treatment centres accounted for 56%, and NA itself for 29% of responses.

Number of meetings attended per week

Most members attend from one to three meetings per week, although the range is much broader, as Table 4 shows:

Table 4: No. of meetings attended per week
No. of meetings % of members
less than 1 per week 12
1 per week 29
2 per week 30
3 per week 15
4 per week 5
5+ per week 9


70% of members have a sponsor, and most have contact with their sponsor on at least a weekly basis (daily, 11%; weekly, 56%). A further 7% speak with or have contact with their sponsor monthly.

About one-quarter of NA members (24%) sponsor others. Among all sponsors, most have from one or two sponsees (64%), but a few sponsors (8%) have more than seven sponsees.

Twelve Steps of recovery

Working the Twelve Steps with a sponsor is another essential element of the NA programme, and 88% of NA members report having begun to work the steps. Further, around half of all members report that they have worked on all Twelve Steps. As the length of clean time increases, the proportion of members that have worked through all the Twelve Steps at least once increases.


Length of Drug Use

More than one-quarter of members (29%) used drugs for 20 years or more, before getting clean, nearly half (47%) for ten to 20 years, and 24% used them for up to ten years before getting clean.

Drugs used regularly

Before becoming abstinent, members used an extensive range of drugs on a regular basis, comprising both legal (including by prescription) and illegal substances. Shown in decreasing order of use, the table below gives the number of members who reported using each type of drug regularly.

Table 5: Drugs used regularly by members
Drug Number Percent
Alcohol 613 86
Cannabis 551 77
Other Stimulants (not listed elsewhere) 299 42
Methamphetamines 283 40
Opiates 271 38
Hallucinogenics 248 35
Tranquilisers 209 29
Cocaine 175 24
Methadone 140 20
Barbiturates 136 19
Inhalants 56 8

Most used drug

A much smaller range of drugs was nominated by members as the drug they used the most, with cannabis (25%), alcohol (20%) and opiates (18%) predominating. Methamphetamine was the drug most used by 13% of members.

Drug of choice

The single largest group of respondents to this question (34%) did not have a drug of choice. Opiates were preferred by 19%, cannabis was preferred by 17% and alcohol by 11% of NA members. Twelve percent chose methamphetamine.

Criminal convictions

More than half (56%) of members acknowledged having criminal convictions as a result of their drug use.