The impact of illegal drugs in Ballymena has been an undeniable part of the fabric of local society for many years.
Hundreds if not thousands of people and their families have endured the downward spiral which comes with addiction - but there is help out there.
Narcotics Anonymous has a new meeting every Tuesday afternoon from 12.30pm to 1.30pm at 21A Fountain Place, Ballymena.
A spokesperson for the organisation explains their aims and structure: “We are addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. Our programme is based on complete abstinence from all drugs. There is only one requirement for membership and that is the desire to stop using.”
The programme uses a set of written principles which can be followed in daily life, and, according to the spokesperson, they do work.
“There are no strings attached to NA. We are not affiliated with any other organisations, we have no fees or pledges. We are not connected with any political, religious or law enforcement agency and are not under any form of surveillance.”
The spokesperson recounted how addiction had been central to his life experience with the primary aim being to find the ways and means to feed the habit.
“As an addict you do not live and enjoy life as other people do. We placed the useof drugs ahead of the welfare of our families, our wives, husbands and our children. We had to have drugs at all costs because we suffered from a disease from which there is no known cure. It can, however, be arrested at some point, and recovery is them possible.
“Our message is that an addict, any addict, can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use and find a new way to live,” he added.
For more information, you can call or text the Northern Area Helpline between 7pm and 10pm on 07810 172991.