Brief History

Narcotics Anonymous sprang from the Alcoholics Anonymous Program of 1935, with meetings first emerging in the Los Angeles area of California, USA, in the early 1950s. The NA program started as a small US movement that has grown into one of the world’s oldest and largest organizations of its type. For many years, NA grew very slowly, spreading from Los Angeles to other major North American cities and Australia in the early 1970s. In 1983, Narcotics Anonymous published its self-titled book-the Basic Text-which contributed to its tremendous growth; by year’s end, NA had grown to more than a dozen countries and had 2,966 meetings.

The first Narcotics Anonymous meeting took place in Canada in late September of 1967. It was in Victoria, British Columbia that James D. and Bernard A. began meeting weekly to help each other stay clean. The late 1960’s were a time of struggle for the fellowship an in 1967 there were only 15 meetings world wide, with most of them occurring in California. Although the attendance at the Victoria meetings fluctuated, and the locations often changed, by the early 1970’s the fellowship had begun to stabilize and it was in 1973 that the The Victoria Area Service committee formed. By late 1979 an N.A. meeting was started in Vancouver, and in 1981 the NA World Directory listed 11 meetings in BC. The publishing of the Basic text was responsible for the rapid growth of NA world wide including BC and it wasn’t long before there were several meetings throughout the Province. The 1983 the world Directory contained 48 meetings, and by 1989, 112 meetings were taking place in BC. By 1981 the meetings in Vancouver continued to grow and by October 1985, 6 groups east of Vancouver joined together to form the Fraser Valley Area Service committee.

Today, Narcotics Anonymous is well established throughout much of North and South America, Western Europe, Australia, the Middle East, New Zealand and Eastern Europe. Newly formed groups and NA communities can be found scattered throughout the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and East Asia. Today the organization is truly a worldwide multilingual multicultural fellowship with more than 58,000 weekly meetings in 131 countries*. Narcotics Anonymous books and information pamphlets are currently available in 39 languages, with translations in process for 16 languages.
*As of May 2010

In 1960, there was 1 N.A. meeting in the world.
In 1978, there were fewer than 200 registered groups in three countries.
In 1983, more than a dozen countries had 2,966 meetings.
In 1993, 60 countries had over 13,000 groups holding over 19,000 meetings.
In 2002, 108 countries had 20,000 groups holding over 30,000 meetings.
In 2005, 116 countries had over 21,500 groups holding over 33,500 weekly meetings.
In 2007, there were over 25,065 groups holding over 43,900 weekly meetings in 127 countries.