COVID-19 has increased stresses for many people through increased social isolation, work changes and life disruptions. Major unfortunate consequences in Montgomery County have been increases in suicides and drug overdoses. Narcotics Anonymous (NA), a nonprofit, 12-step program, is helping residents for whom drugs have become a major problem and is available for others confronting drug addiction.
Traditionally, NA holds more than 60 on-site meetings each week throughout the County, but due to the COVID health crisis, meetings are currently being held virtually via Zoom.
NA is a free community resource, financially supported only by donations from its members. The NA program is based on peer-to-peer support. NA members share their experiences, strength and hope with newcomers to NA and help them feel welcome. By working through the 12 steps with a sponsor, new members learn the language and process of recovery from active addiction. A NA meeting might be attended by someone who has been clean for a week, a year, 15 years or 30 years.
Parents, spouses and friends of those with drug problems are welcome at NA meetings.
The only requirement for attending an NA meeting is a desire to be free from active addiction. NA was formed in 1953 and adopted the 12-step framework of recovery originally created by Alcoholics Anonymous. NA’s program addresses the disease of addiction and is not directed toward specific drugs. The “narcotic” part of its name is about the 1950’s-era referral to any illegal drug as a narcotic.
The meetings are the primary vehicle for someone in active addiction to hear the NA message, “That anyone—any addict—can stop using drugs, lose the desire/obsession to use and find a new way of life.”
NA service members bring NA meetings into many County facilities including the Avery Road Combined Care Facility, the County’s Pre-Release Service, correctional facilities, the County emergency shelters and centers and several halfway homes for recovering addicts. NA has worked closely with Montgomery County’s Drug Court and its Parole and Probation services. In some cases, NA meeting attendance becomes mandatory for certain offenders.
NA meetings on Zoom are accessible by land line phones, smart phones and computer. Meeting information can be found at the NA website at www.cprna.org/meetings or by calling the NA help line at 800-543-4670.
More information on NA, and about addiction, is available at https://virtual-na.org.