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Abstinence Among Members of NA

Abstinence among Members of Abstinence-Based Narcotics Anonymous

There are more than 58,000 abstinence-based Narcotics Anonymous (NA) groups in the world.

There are relatively few research studies examining the members of Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
Galanter and associates studied “the nature of the participants in NA who are primarily abstinent, long-term members” to shed more light on the informational deficit.

The researchers surveyed 10 NA group meetings and 396 attendees in three different states.

They found:

  • 71.5% male
  • 68.2% were beige
  • 29% misused cocaine
  • 28% heroin (another data point suggesting that the opioid epidemic is already exiting while the stimulant epidemic is building)
  • 13% other opioids
  • 13% methamphetamine
  • 9% alcohol
  • 7% cannabis
  • 3% other stimulants (again the stimulant epidemic appears to be here because the total incidence of stimulant misuse in this group is 45%)
  • 87% had prior substance misuse treatment
  • The average age of entering NA was 27
  • They had an average clean time of 6 years
  • 48% had served as sponsors
  • 94% considered themselves spiritual
  • 30% referred to themselves as religious

Galanter and associates concluded: Narcotics Anonymous (NA) “offers support for long-term abstinence from diverse misuse of drugs among users of different backgrounds” (Galanter).

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Galanter M, et al. Abstinence from drugs of abuse in community-based members of Narcotics Anonymous. Journal of the Study of Alcohol Drugs. 2013 Mar;74(2):349-52.

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