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ANTA – Alcohol, Narcotics, Pills and other Addictions

ANTA course in Norway, a project with IOGT Norway, is focusing on alcohol, drugs, pills and other addictions. We turned to Rita Nilsen, the project leader for ANTA, to hear more about this important work.

NordAN asks: What is the content of the course? How does it work?

Rita Nilsen responds: The course is aiming to help the participants towards independence and personal responsibility. It gives the participant knowledge about the disease Addiction according to WHO and DSM 5. Through these criteriums, it is the goal that the participants will understand themselves why they have had relapses earlier when they were using related remedies to their preferable drug. We also look at the reason why they started misusing alcohol, narcotics or medicaments.

Courses last mostly for one week. Sometimes the courses last 5 weeks. In prison and institutions, it lasts for 4 days. Thereafter I train the participants themselves to manage a support-group. I am available on phone and mail and support the participants until they have established contact with counselors. Today I train several ANTA-trainers for IOGT so we can spread the program throughout the country.

Different addiction courses are sometimes compared; some people think one thing works better than the other.

ANTA is a training course where the one who is struggling with addiction gets knowledge about its cause and effect. There can be many reasons for this. Therefore we look at the life of the person and try to find out where a skewed development started. Then we get them to see the reasons behind their misuse of drugs, and that they must be sober before they are able to work out the problems underneath. This will be different from person to person so each participant takes their new insights from their course to their counselor and continue to work with their issues there. The trainers are themselves, former drug addicts. They get the necessary training and use the formal knowledge they get together with their own experience.

Why do you believe ANTA works? Does it stand out somehow?

What I have experienced through almost 20 years is that many manage better for longer periods. For every sober period they get to work with what lies underneath. It looks like this contributes to the sober periods getting longer and they get to settle a lot of their problems. Many have managed to stop using drugs and get into formal education or a job.

Can you describe the average person who is coming to your courses?

Most are between 30 and 40 and have had many attempts in day care-treatment, policlinics and prisons without this making much difference. They have lost almost everything. Some are in danger of losing family and job. Most of them have been using different drugs and started doing drugs at a very young age. They might have started between 8 and 14 years old.

Has the addiction problems changed somehow over the years? If so, how?

For youth, the environment where they live have been getting tougher, and there is a lot of polydrug use. Pills are being mixed with both alcohol and other drugs. There is a lot of violence. Since we are also holding these courses in prisons we see this clearly.

How did you end up doing this work?

Long story short: I’m former alcohol and drug addict and rehab’s and doctors gave me up and said that nobody could help me. Then I got help from a friend and a started acupuncture and medical education,  cause and effect of skew development and the genetic vulnerability of addiction. Then I started to work in prison with inmates with the program and after two years I founded a foundation and worked there until 2018.

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In total there have been 127 participants on ANTA-courses from October 2018 to March 2019, 6 months. Here is what the participants have answered about what kind of drug they have used.

ANTA