Abstinence from drugs of abuse in community-based members of narcotics anonymous

Marc Galanter, Helen Dermatis, Stephen Post, Courtney Santucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is an abstinence-based fellowship with more than 58,000 groups worldwide. There has, however, been little research reported on its members. This study was designed to clarify the nature of the participants in NA who are primarily abstinent, long-term members. Method: A protocol was implemented to survey members at 10 NA group meetings in three different states, through the cooperation of the NA World Service Office. A 51-item self-administered questionnaire, addressing key aspects of substance use and recovery, was anonymously completed by 396 respondents. Results: Respondents were 71.5% male; the mean age was 38.1 years; 68.2% were White; and the principal drug problems comprised cocaine (28.5%), heroin (27.5%), other opiates (13.4%), methamphetamine (12.9%), alcohol (8.6%), marijuana (6.6%), and other stimulants (2.5%). Eighty-seven percent had prior treatment for a substance use disorder. On average respondents had first encountered NA at age 26.9, they had been abstinent an average of 5.7 years at the time they filled out the questionnaire, and 47.5% had served as sponsors. Ninety-four percent designated themselves as spiritual, and only 29.6% designated themselves as religious. Conclusions: NA offers support for long-term abstinence from diverse misuse of drugs among users of different backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-352
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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