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What is NA?

A Brief History of NA

Los Angeles, California, saw the beginnings of Narcotics Anonymous in the late 1940s when Jimmy Kinnon began meetings specifically for people troubled by drug addiction. By 1953 the NA program had been officially founded, althoughit was not yet recognized as a positive force in society. It was difficult for members to find locations for meetings to take place, and often times they would be held in people's homes. New York state was perhaps the most difficult location fo NA to exist, as the drug laws there dictated that it was a crime for drug addicts to meet for any reason. Since NA was in this sense a crime, members were forced to cruise around a meeting place to check for surveillance or police presence. This history is still recognized at some NA meetings when a member of the fellowship will declare that the meeting is not under surveillance, to which the group members answer "That we know of." It would be several years before NA would be recognized as a positive social organization.

By the early 1960s, meetings were flurishing, and in 1962 the NA White Book was released. This book became the center of NA meetings and the basis for later NA liturature. The 1970s saw rapid growth for NA, and 1971 saw the first NA World Conference, which has been held annually ever since. In 1970 there were only 20 regular meetings, all in the US, but by 1972 there were 70 meetings, with some being held in Germany, Australia and Bermuda. By 1976 there were 200 regular meetings, and membership had spread to Canada, Brazil, Colombia, India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand and the UK. By the early 1980s there were 1100 meetings happening all over the world.



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