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. Now in 2007 there are nearly 44,000 meetings held every week in 127 countries, speaking over 65 languages.
Survey of the Aotearoa New Zealand Fellowship
The inaugural survey of the members of Narcotics Anonymous was conducted at 82 participating NA meetings during survey week - Friday 16 November to Thursday 23 November 2004. The survey included 28 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).
The result is a representative snapshot of the membership during the week it was held. A total of 475 members answered survey questionnaires, calculated to be a response rate of 66% (or two thirds) of all members.
A total of 273 members were male (58%) and 201 were female (42%).
Members range in age from under 20 to over sixty years old, with the average (and median) age being 35 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||Number||Percent|
|0 - less than 6 months||40||9|
|6 months - less than 1 year||117||27|
|1 year - less than 2 years||49||11|
|2 years - less than 5 years||83||19|
|5 years- less than 10 years||65||15|
|10 years - less than 15 years||42||10|
|15 years or more||42||10|
|Northern - Hamilton, Auckland and north of Auckland||246||52|
|Midland - Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu and Wairarapa||37||8|
|Central - Taranaki, Kapati Coast and the greater Wellington region||83||17|
|Southern - South Island||109||23|
Most members live in cities, and 82% of members live in New Zealand’s largest urban areas: Auckland, 42%; Wellington, 17%; Christchurch, 11%; Hamilton and Dunedin, each 6% of all members.
While most members are New Zealand European (74%), the proportion of members who identify as Mäori (19%) is higher than the national average.
|Area||Northern||Midland||Central||Southern||All NA||NZ Population|
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 two thirds in the first year of recovery to just over 10% for those over 5 years clean. For full analysis of this data please refer to the full survey results.
Educational achievementThe highest educational achievement of members spans postgraduate (19%), and tertiary (26%) through trades (15%), and school qualification (21%) to none (19%).
Members have a diverse range of occupations as Table 4 shows.
|Unskilled / Labourer||6|
|Service, Sales, Hospitality, Clerical||9|
|Technical/ Agriculture/ Fishery/ Trades/ Plant & Machine Operator||18|
|Craft worker/Artist /Musician/Actor/ All Other||8|
Influence on first NA attendance
Most members reported that the biggest influence on their initial meeting attendance was a treatment centre (37%) or from contact with NA members (34%).
Where members first got cleanMembers were questioned on where they first got clean. Treatment centres accounted for 59%, and NA itself for 30% 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 5 shows:
|No. of meetings||% of members|
|less than 1 per week||7|
|1 per week||23|
|2 per week||25|
|3 per week||24|
|4 per week||10|
|5+ per week||10|
Three-quarters of members (74%) have a sponsor, and most have contact with their sponsor on at least a weekly basis (daily, 9%; weekly, 54%). A further 23% speak with or have contact with their sponsor monthly.
Slightly fewer than one-third of NA members (31%) sponsor others. Among all sponsors, most have from one or two sponsees (59%), but a few sponsors (7%) 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, almost half of all members (47%) report that they have worked on all Twelve Steps.
Length of Drug Use
Just over half of members (55%) used drugs for 15 years or more, before getting clean, and a further quarter (24%) used them for ten to 14 years. A total of 16% reported using drugs for five to nine years, and 5% used them for up to five 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.
|Other Stimulants (not listed elsewhere)||206||44|
Most used drug
A much smaller range of drugs was nominated by members as the drug they used the most, with cannabis (24%), alcohol and opiates (21% each) predominating. Methamphetamine was the drug most used by 7% of members.
Drug of choice
The single largest group of respondents to this question (29%) did not have a drug of choice. Opiates were preferred by almost a quarter (24%), cannabis was preferred by 18% and alcohol by 12% of NA members. Eight percent chose methamphetamine.
More than half (56%) of members acknowledged having criminal convictions as a result of their drug use.