Narconon, drug rehab and recruitment for Scientology.

It happens all too often. A family member gets in trouble with drugs. Concerned relatives or friends begin looking for a good rehab program. A web search results in hundreds of websites, all from the same source, Narconon. Some may associate the name with a 12 step program, like Alanon. One might also think that, with so many websites, these people really must know what they are doing. Who would ever suspect this to be a recruitment branch of the "church" of Scientology?

Greg Beha is one such concerned parent. He called Narconon Stone Hawk, a large facility in Michigan, and arranged for his son to enter their program. He paid $23,000 up front for a "3-6 month program." Two days into the detox, his son began passing out and vomiting blood. Narconon personnel were reluctant to take him to a hospital for treatment. The young man was treated for severe dehydration. Once released, he returned to the Narconon facility to continue his rehab program.

Mr. Beha's troubles weren't over. On the Vince Daniels radio program in Southern California, Mr. Beha said, "In the evening of the fourth day--it was on July 18, 18 days into the program--Stone Hawk loaded my son's belongings and drove him 26 miles to a motel room--a $35 a night, I think is what it cost--and they dropped him off. They paid for his room and gave him 10 bucks."[1]

What did Mr. Beha's son actually do that got him kicked out? According to Mr. Beha, " No one would tell me from Stone Hawk. And I talked to my son, and he told me that he just told them that L. Ron Hubbard was a complete idiot. And he used some swear words then." Mr. Beha is demanding a full refund from Narconon Stone Hawk. And he's not the only one. Since Mr. Beha first spoke out on the Vince Daniels show, several other people have come forward with similar stories.

"Jeff X" was sent to a Narconon facility in Canada. He says, "Inside the center there was active drug use. It was not tolerated by staff but continued the duration of my stay. Marijuana, alcohol, and heroin I not only saw consumed but unfortunately consumed myself. I did heroin for the first time in my life at a Narconon center. The majority of the people there were being treated for opiate abuse. I myself was there for cocaine and alcohol. I left the center and returned home and I received familiar results: I was neck deep in abuse very quickly." He also notes about his second visit, "It was a total disaster and the worst experience of my life" [2].

The list of Narcanon-affiliated groups can be found at the bottom of this page. You'll note that there are many "educational" websites listed, as well as sites promoting the many Narconon facilities around the world. One would think that an organization with such a large web presence must certainly be a good one!

The main concerns about Narconon treatment include their "cold turkey" detox method, where people in withdrawal are sequestered without medical treatment, the dangerous Purification Rundown, unqualified staff, inappropriate treatments, and the bad science behind the program.[3]

Conditions inside Narconon create an environment which can lead to abuse. Narconon has done its best to cover up the horror stories of rape, overdoses, and health problems associated with the Purification Rundown.

So what, exactly is Narconon? Proponents of Narconon will tell you it's the most successful drug rehab program ever, with a 70% success rate. They will also tell you it isn't part of Scientology, but is only "based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard." They also claim to be good neighbors, have excellent supervision, good security and trained medical personnel on site.

Narconon is part of Scientology. In their organizational chart, Narconon falls under the umbrella of ABLE, the Association for Better Living and Education, which is under the direct purview of CST, the "Church of Spiritual Technology," which is the Keeper of the Copyrights and the International Management watchdog committee which controls Scientology operations [4].

Courses in Narconon are drawn from Scientology's "green volumes." These courses are identical to those purchased by public Scientologists. In that case, they are "religious" doctrines. In Narconon, it is claimed they are secular. "Each stage of the Narconon programme has an exact equivalent in Scientology - so much so that it is more accurate to say that Narconon is Scientology, rather than that it is merely derived from it." --From a report to Submitted to Don Z. Miller, Deputy Director, Health Treatment System, State Department of Health, Sacramento, CA, on 31 Oct 1974. [5] This statement was made back in 1974, and yet Narconon spokespersons are still trained to tell the public that there is no tie between Narconon and Scientology.

Another falsehood relates to their 70% success rate claimed by Narconon promotional material and spokespeople. On the website this issue is discussed, noting, "The way that Narconon presents its claimed success rates is, on the whole, very peculiar. As well as not making available source data from studies, it often claims that its success rates are universally applicable - that is, that a particular success figure is obtained everywhere. In a great many cases, figures are quoted without any reference to their sources; basic information such as where they come from, when they were determined and how many people were evaluated are often wholly absent. Even when some kind of citation is included, it is often extremely vague - for instance, "a study conducted by an independent organisation" (who, where, when, how?). [6]

The study, as explained on the footnoted URL, took a small number of participants as its focus. At the end of the study, the 70% success rate was based on the data after those who failed to complete the program were excluded. When the dropouts were included, the success rate dropped to 2%. The recovery rate for addicts who quit without a support program is 10%.

However, a certain number of clients go on to become Scientologists. This is certainly underplayed by Narconon supporters, who would like to avoid the issue of Narconon recruiting vulnerable recovering substance abusers altogether. Narconon International president Clark Carr estimates 10 to 15% of all graduates become Scientologists. But Heber Jentzsch, President of the Church of Scientology International, places that number down around 6%.

Once the client has completed the program, he or she is often urged to remain as staff, or encouraged to continue coursework at a Scientology facility. According to an internal Narconon flowchart dated 1984, the final step should be, "ROUTE TO NEAREST [SCIENTOLOGY] ORG[ANIZATION] FOR FURTHER SERVICES IF INDIVIDUAL SO DESIRES." [7]

This lends some credence to the frequent claim by critics of Scientology that Narconon clients are expressly directed into Scientology (this, they suggest, being the primary goal of the Narconon programme). Some have suggested that as many as 50-75 percent of those who undergo full Narconon training become Scientologists. The 1974 Tennant Report states of the patients interviewed at Narconon New Life in Los Angeles that "most ... wanted to become qualified Scientologists."

The safety of the Narconon program is definately in question. Part of the program consists of the 'Purification Rundown,' a supposed detox regimen that frees the body of all toxins. The Purif, as it's called, is mandatory for new Scientologists, and is sold secularly under several front group banners.

Based on L. Ron Hubbard's interpretation of the side effects of a niacin overdose, the Purification Rundown administers massive doses of vitamins, which are supposed to remove toxins from the body. Unfortunately for clients, the amount of niacin given actually results in toxicity, which can cause blindness and permanent liver damage. In some cases, vitamin dosage is 142 times the toxic level. [9] (this footnoted URL also provides dosage charts and toxicity symptoms of vitamins used in the Purif) In a healthy subject, this can cause health concerns.

Substance abusers are generally not in the best physical condition to begin with. The Purification Rundown also involves running, and sauna sessions. For someone in poor health, running may have harmful effects. Furthermore, while 30 minutes is the recommended safe time period for saunas, Narconon clients can spend up to 5 hours in one session, at 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Visit this URL to read more about the junk science behind Narconon's detox program:

In 2004, a series of articles by Nanette Asimov of the San Francisco Chronicle outlined the review and expulsion of the Narconon educational program presented to students in California public schools. It began in San Francisco, where a review of their curriculum determined it to be full of inaccuracies. Rather than comply with the request that they revise their program to reflect the current thought on drugs, addiction and detoxification, Narconon representatives doggedly insisted that the science behind the program was sound. They were subsequently expelled from public schools in San Francisco. California Superintendent of Public Schools Jack O'Connell asked for a review of the Narconon program at the state level. And from there, Narconon's educational outreach got expelled at the state level. Narconon Hawaii, which had previously unveiled "Unparalleled Expansion," also got the boot based on California findings. The city of Boston followed [10].

As detailed in , Mr Beha was offered a partial refund, with orders to "agree to post a blog on the Internet that recants any negative comments that I may have made regarding Narconon Stone Hawk and their owners;" "agree that we have worked together and settled the matter amicably;" "agree there is no ill feelings between parties;" "agree that this matter is being handled fairly and mutually;" "agree to refrain from making any disparaging comments regarding Narconon Stone Hawk." Clearly, there is work to be done.










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