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New tool to help Houston fight drug addiction

A Narcotics Anonymous group has been holding weekly meetings
Disposed needles have proliferated in Houston – being found in public areas such as parks, schoolyards, boulevards and alleyways. (Submitted photo)

Houston has gained a new service that’s expected to help the community fight substance abuse.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA), an international, community-based support group, has been holding meetings every Sunday in the community since Sept. 16.

Despite its size and remoteness, municipal staff says Houston has been disproportionately impacted by B.C.’s opioid crisis. Disposed needles have proliferated in the community – being found in public areas such as parks, schoolyards, boulevards and alleyways.

READ MORE: Drug-related issues in Houston cause concern

READ MORE: Influx of used needles in Houston a topic at UBCM

“At the moment, Houston is experiencing grave effects of the drug crisis like never before,” said Dr. Onuora Odoh, who’s helped form the Narcotics Anonymous group in Houston. “Now is a prime time for a program like this to help save the community from the ugly adverse effects of drug addiction.”

Dr. Odoh said the group welcomes people who are clean from drug use or interested in getting clean, as well as people with passion to provide support to those struggling with addiction.

“Friends, relatives and anybody who is interested in improving their knowledge of addiction, and [learning] how to provide personal support to these individuals, will definitely gain that [knowledge],” said Dr. Odoh. “The group is also open to people who are currently interested in quitting narcotic use but are struggling to successfully quit and at same time achieve a sustained and comfortable drug-free life.”

According to Dr. Odoh, a support group such as NA is also important because some people who struggle with addiction are unaware or don’t have the resources to seek other types of treatment.

“Some people lack the opportunity to attend a treatment centre, maybe due to the cost, and are left only with local opportunities like this to access the support they need.”

Dr. Odoh said attendance so far has been “moderate,” but that new members are joining the group each week. The meetings take place at at the Houston Community Services Association’s building at 7 p.m.

Narcotics Anonymous is an international, community-based support group that holds more than 31,000 weekly meetings in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Just like any other NA group, Houston’s NA does not receive any external financial support.

“The group is self-sufficient and is funded by interested members,” said Dr. Odoh, without proving any further details to preserve the group’s anonymity.

“As the name of the group implies, the tradition of this group is based completely on anonymity.”

For more information about the program, call 250-844-1305, 778-250-7288 or 604-833-5153.