Monday, 16 July 2012

Gibraltar has a serious drugs issue on its hands, says Narcotics Anonymous

GIBRALTAR (Panorama) Narcotics Anonymous Gibraltar (NA) has been established on the Rock for about 17 years. It is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem in their lives. Members are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean of these substances. The only requirement for membership is to admit to having a problem and a desire to stop using. NA held a press conference last Friday which was more in the way of an awareness presentation of what the group has to offer. Present at the conference were two government ministers, Ms Sacramento and Mr. Linares, among many members of the public who shared an interest in the subject. The conference table was headed by three members of the group, all recovering addicts, who through help from NA and, in some personal cases, Bruce’s Farm (Gibraltar's recovery centre), have got their lives back and living normally with their families.>>>

Speakers at the press conference gave a history of NA and the services provided for those seeking help. The main service are are meetings on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

Each group abides by a series of 12 principles common to the entire organisation. Meetings take place in rooms rented from public, religious or other organisations, they may be 'open', meaning anyone can attend or 'closed', meaning only for people who want to address their own drug problems.

Narcotics Anonymous believes that one of the cornerstones of its success is the therapeutic value of addicts working with each other to achieve recovery. In meetings members regularly share their personal experiences with each other, not as professionals but as ordinary people who have discovered that sharing brings about solutions to their problems.

It was pointed out at the press conference that Narcotics Anonymous is a non-religious fellowship, encouraging each member to cultivate an individual understanding, religious or not, of a 'spiritual awakening'.

The core of the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous is adapted from the enormously successful recovery programme of Alcoholic Anonymous. These steps include admitting to a drug problem; seeking help; self-appraisal; confidential self-disclosure; making amends when possible, where harm has been done; achieving a spiritual awakening and supporting other drug addicts who want to recover.

Ministers open government doors to NA Gibraltar
During the question time session there were exchanges with the two ministers present. NA members made it clear that they wanted to consolidate the NA organisation in Gibraltar, also to acquire the correct status to officially constitute themselves. They were afforded by the ministers any assistance the government could give by way of advice or of premises; this is where Mr. Linares offered for instance facilities at the youth centre.

There was another exchange with the social service minister Ms Sacramento who also explained briefly the government’s commitment in tackling the major drugs problem in Gibraltar. The minister also said of the important input members of an organisation like the NA can have on the overall strategy to combat drug abuse in Gibraltar. Although any contribution by NA members would be welcome, the minister said it would be in addition to that of the professionals who form the major part of the overall programme to tackle the local drug issue. 

Narcotics Anonymous is another organisation that has also come forward this last week and agrees that Gibraltar has ‘a real drugs issue on its hands’ 

At a later stage NA will make its contact numbers etc more widely available, the press conference was a start in an attempt to increase the organisations profile to the public.

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