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 2017) there are nearly 67,000 meetings held every week in 139 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).
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 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.
|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|
|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.
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.
|Unskilled / Labourer||7|
|Service, Sales, Hospitality, Clerical||14|
|Technical/ Agriculture/ Fishery/ Trades/ Plant & Machine Operator||17|
|Craft worker/Artist /Musician/Actor/ All Other||4|
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:
|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
|Other Stimulants (not listed elsewhere)||299||42|
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.
More than half (56%) of members acknowledged having criminal convictions as a result of their drug use.