Fighting the good fight

Substance abuse is a blight that affects millions worldwide and our little piece of paradise on the North Coast does not escape this.

The use of illegal drugs is a serious concern and as every year sees a new substance, such as ‘flakka,’ so too the fight against drugs has to be approached with renewed vigor every year.

The Ballito branch of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) started holding meetings last year and has seen encouraging numbers attending, whether it be addicts looking for a way out, ex addicts helping and sharing their stories, or family members struggling with a loved one.

Results from a 2013 NA survey showed that there is a lot of misconception around drug abuse, with some surprising results.

While keeping young people away from drugs will always be a priority, the survey showed that interestingly, it was not youngsters who made up the largest group of respondents.

The survey was completed by 16 750 NA members, of which only 1% were under 20 and 12% between 21 and 30.

Also read: Positive start for NarcAnon

As the ages of respondents rose, so too did the incidence of drug abuse. People between the ages of 31 and 40 made up 18% of the respondents, while people between 41 and 50 made up a much bigger 28% and, shockingly, people between 51 and 60 made up 31%. Only 10% of respondents were over the age of 60.

The NA survey showed that nobody is beyond the reach of addiction, and it goes on to show that factors such as race played no part in addiction figures, with economic and geographic influences playing a much more significant role.

NA describes itself as open to anyone who wants to stop using drugs or has a substance abuse issue, whether it be legal or illegal narcotics.

One of the core principles of NA is anonymity, allowing everyone to attend without the fear of legal or social repercussion.

NA’s primary approach to recovery is its belief in the therapeutic value of one addict helping another. Members take part in NA meetings by talking about their experiences and recovery from drug addiction. NA meetings are informally structured and are led by members who take turns opening and closing the meeting.

The core of the NA program is the Twelve Steps. These “steps” are a set of guidelines outlining a practical approach to recovery. By following these guidelines and working closely with other members, addicts learn to stop using drugs and face the challenges of daily living.

Narcotics Anonymous is not a religious organisation and does not mandate any particular belief system. They do teach what they call “basic spiritual principles” such as honesty, open mindedness, faith, willingness, and humility that may be applied in everyday life.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, join the Ballito NA at the Ballito Library every Saturday from 5pm to 6.15pm.

>>  Ready to say ‘I Do’ on the Dolphin Coast? Meet the team ready to advise, help and deliver on your big day.

>>  Visit our Education feature for a collection of all the best schools, tutoring systems, and even some colleges and training facilities on the North Coast.

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Allan Troskie

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