A narcotics anonymous programme being established in Timaru will open its doors to addicts and their families.
The programme, called Naranon, which stands for National Addictions Recovery Anonymous, starts tomorrow.
Addictions case worker Glen Smith said the programme is designed to help people living with, or who have grown up with, addiction - including family members of those who are directly affected.
Smith is aware of at least eight people who will attend Timaru's first meeting, including three people in their 20s who have been addicted to synthetic cannabis.
The meeting will run on similar lines to Alanon, an alcoholics anonymous support group, which has also recently started back up, Smith said.
"It fazed out and there's a definite need for both."
He said it was difficult for people to get ongoing support in Timaru for addiction. In many cases people are referred to a wellness programme, which they can go to once or twice.
"But what do you do after that? That's why these programmes are important," he said.
"They learn about it from go to whoa and are sitting in rooms with people who suffered from addiction. They learn in an environment that's real and what it takes people to get well, sober or free of drugs."
Feedback from Alanon had been positive, he said.
In many cases people could not walk away from their responsibilities, including families and pets, to attend (residential) rehabilitation programmes, Smith said.
"So to have a course they can go to in Timaru is absolutely brilliant."
He said family members also found such courses comforting.
"They are just relieved to have some understanding - to know it's not their fault. They haven't caused it."
Children affected by a family member's addiction can also benefit from the courses, Smith said.
"They need support too."
Naranon will open to the public tomorrow, at 7pm, at 287 Otipua Rd.
- The Timaru Herald