The organization was formed in 1966 by Scientologist William Benitez, a former inmate of Arizona State Prison. Benitez contacted L. Ron Hubbard after reading his book, Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought and with Hubbard's help Narconon was incorporated in 1970.
While both The Church of Scientology and Narconon state that Narconon is a secular program, that it is independent of Scientology, and that it provides legitimate drug education and rehabilitation, Narconon has been described by many government reports and former patients as a Church of Scientology front group.
The program has garnered considerable controversy as a result of its origins in Scientology and its methods. Its drug rehabilitation treatment has been described as "medically unsafe", "quackery" and "medical fraud", while academic and medical experts have dismissed its educational program as containing "factual errors in basic concepts such as physical and mental effects, addiction and even spelling".
Narconon's facilities have been the location of several deaths, some of which have been linked to a lack of trained medical personnel on site. Narconon's international staff training facility, Narconon Arrowhead, is located near the town of Canadian, Oklahoma.
There exist no independently recognized studies which confirm the efficacy of the Narconon program.
L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, upon whose ideology the Narconon program is based.
Narconon was established 19 February 1966 as a drug rehabilitation program based on the book Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought by L. Ron Hubbard and delivered to drug abusers in the Arizona State Prisons. The name "Narconon" originally referred not to an organization but to the program.
Narconon's creator was William C. Benitez, a former inmate at Arizona State Prison who had served time for narcotics offenses. His work was supported by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and in 1972 Hubbard sponsored the incorporation of Narconon as an organization. It was co-founded by Benitez and two Scientologists, Henning Heldt and Arthur Maren.
In the early days of Narconon, no distinction was made between Scientology's 'religious' and 'secular' branches; Narconon was considered by Scientologists to be an example of Scientology in action. "Narconon, with the Scientology program, is another example of the workability of Dianetics and Scientology", said an adherent in 1970. "The program has been expanded and is used in all Scientology churches and missions".
The Narconon website reports that the keynote of Narconon is that the “…individual is responsible for his own condition and that anyone can improve his condition if he is given a workable way to do so… man is basically good and it is pain, suffering, and loss that lead him astray.” It positions the program as an approach to rehabilitation without recourse to alternative drugs. This early program did not, however, deal directly with withdrawal symptoms. In 1973, the Narconon program adopted procedures to include drug-free withdrawal.
A number of celebrities have publicly attested that Narconon was helpful in their own lives. Musician Nicky Hopkins and actress Kirstie Alley have credited Narconon for their recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Alley has since become a public spokesperson for Narconon. The New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project has used Hubbard's sauna detoxification regimen in an effort to improve the health of rescue workers exposed to toxic substances from 9/11, although the results are disputed. Toxicologist Dr Ronald E. Gotts described the Narconon / Purification Rundown program in a 1987 report on its use by California firefighters:
"The treatment in California preyed upon the fears of concerned workers, but served no rational medical function. ... Moreover, the program itself, developed not by physicians or scientists, but by the founder of the Church of Scientology, has no recognized value in the established medical and scientific community. It is quackery."
In 2004 and 2005, WISE at Work magazine and International Scientology News each published articles clarifying the relationship between Narconon and Scientology; each placed Narconon in Scientology's 'Division 6B', with responsibility for introducing the public to Scientology services.
By the end of 2005, according to the International Association of Scientologists, Narconon was operating 183 rehabilitation centers around the world. New centers opened in that year included Hastings, UK (now closed), and Stone Hawk, in Battle Creek, Michigan.) Narconon President Clark Carr asserted that drug prevention lectures “have been given to over 2 million children and adults over several decades..and are currently being delivered across the United States, all New England States, Washington D.C., Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma and surrounding states, Michigan and Illinois, Texas, New Mexico, Idaho, California, Nevada, Hawaii and possibly others” in response to an inquiry from The Humanist.
On 17 July 2006, Narconon center, Narconon Trois-Rivieres (Three-Rivers) based in Canada, started a website at narcodex.ca. Narcodex was a wiki purported to contain drug information. The domain name of Narcodex.ca was owned by ABLE Canada, another Scientology business entity. The funding for the website came entirely from the Narconon Trois-Rivieres, which also controlled the content on the site. The center was closed by the local health authorities in 2012.
In July 2013, Narconon proposed to acquire the 150 acre Hockley, Ontario estate of Donald Blenkarn, who had died the previous year. Narconon planned to convert the estate into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, but drew widespread opposition from residents who were opposed to the presence of a rehab center, and to the presence of Narconon and Scientology specifically. The Blenkarn family ultimately chose to sell to an unidentified person within the community for below the asking price, and rejected a counter-offer from Narconon.
Its affiliation with the Church of Scientology has made Narconon itself a focus of controversy. The organization has never denied that many of its administrators are committed Scientologists or that its methods are based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. In its early days, Narconon used unaltered Scientology materials in its courses, and Scientology executives ran the organization (founders Heldt and Maren were high-ranking members of the Church's public-relations department known as the Guardian's Office).
In April 1970, Scientology spokesman Max Prudente described Narconon as, "Based solely on the philosophy and tenets of Scientology", claiming an 85% success rate.
However, as Narconon promoted its drug-treatment services to a variety of governmental jurisdictions within the US, the organization repeatedly found itself at the center of controversy when the Scientology connection was raised by journalists or politicians.
Not only did the Church of Scientology have serious public-image problems, but the link with Scientology raised questions about the constitutional appropriateness of governmental bodies sponsoring a religiously affiliated organization (see Lemon v. Kurtzman). These problems were further intensified by claims that the treatment program was medically unsound and numerous allegations that the Narconon treatment program serves as a fundraising and recruitment program for the Church of Scientology.
From 1964 to 1995, the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C.. The building was raided by the FBI in July 1977.
Codes should be used for the names of front groups that we do not want connected with the C of S and for anything that gives specific and actual evidence that the C of S is in legal control of B6 groups [of which Narconon was one].
In the 1990s, Narconon was at pains to deny all links to Scientology; in 1994 John Wood, the head of Narconon UK, denied any connection between Narconon and Scientology, saying, "I know beyond doubt that Narconon does not recruit for nor promote the Church of Scientology", despite the final stage in Narconon's process for patients at that time being "Route to nearest Org (Scientology organisation) for further services", but by 2001 Scientology spokesman Graeme Wilson was describing Narconon as Scientology's "affiliate charity".
A 1–5 March 1998 Boston Herald series exposed how two Scientology-linked groups, Narconon and the World Literacy Crusade, used anti-drug and learn-to-read programs to gain access to public schools without disclosing their Scientology ties. After the Herald report was published, Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, confirmed that the church's Los Angeles law firm had hired a private-investigative firm to investigate the personal life of reporter Joseph Mallia, who wrote the series. The Herald noted numerous other instances over the years where reporters were harassed with "noisy investigations" after writing stories exposing Scientology.
In Montreal, Narconon employees describe themselves as 'FSM's, a Scientology abbreviation for Field Staff Member.
Drug rehabilitation program
The treatment ... served no rational medical function. Moreover, the program itself ... has no recognized value in the established medical and scientific community. It is quackery.
Since its establishment, Narconon has faced considerable controversy over the safety and effectiveness of its rehabilitation methods and the organization's links to the Church of Scientology. The medical profession has been sharply critical of Narconon's methods, which rely on theories of drug metabolism that are not supported by mainstream toxicology. Narconon teaches that drugs reside in people's body fat, and remains there indefinitely. To recover from drugs, addicts can remove the drugs from their fat through saunas and use of vitamins. Medical experts disagree with this basic understanding of physiology, there isn't any significant amount of drugs in a person's fat, and drugs can't be "sweated out" like Narconon claims. In one 2005 report scientific experts stated that Narconon's treatment methods “does not reflect accurate, widely accepted medical and scientific evidence."
Particular criticism has been directed at the therapy's use of vitamins (including massive doses of niacin) and extended sauna sessions.
Dr. David Root, an occupational medicine practitioner and a member of the Narconon Scientific Advisory Board, defended the program’s validity. He told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1991 that drugs and other poisons “come out through the skin in the form of sebaceous, or fatty, sweat. The material is frequently visible and drips, or is rubbed off on towels.” This apparently explains the need for “daily doses of vitamins, minerals, and oils, including niacin.”
The "New Life Program" consists of two principal stages: 'detoxification' and 'rehabilitation'. The "New Life Detoxification Program", adapted from Hubbard's Purification Rundown, consists of six elements: exercise, sauna, supplements, sufficient liquids, regular diet with fresh vegetables, and adequate sleep.
Each US patient spends an average of 3 to 4 months at Narconon, for a fee which ranges from $10,000 to around $30,000.
There are more than 200 beds at Narconon Arrowhead, according to John Bitinas, who is part of the public relations staff for the facility. Asked whether medications are used to help patients going though withdrawal, he said that "Narconon is drug-free, meaning we do not use substitute drugs as part of our rehabilitation process." All patients are assessed at enrollment to determine whether they are "psychiatrically or medically qualified for the level of care we offer here. If they are found to need a higher level of care then Narconon is qualified to offer at that time, they are referred to a more appropriate facility." If patients require medications to treat physical conditions like diabetes, infections, and so on, those medications are prescribed by the Narconon physician, who is part-time but available on-call on a 24-hour basis, according to Bitinas.
Human fat cells. Narconon's treatment is based on L. Ron Hubbard's claim that drug residues are stored in fat cells for many years, and that these residues can be 'flushed out' by saunas and high doses of niacin. Medical science has shown this theory to be incorrect.
The detoxification program is based on Hubbard's theory that "small amounts of drugs [and their metabolites] stored in fat are released at a later time causing the person to re-experience the drug effect and desire to use again." According to Narconon, exercise helps to release toxins from body fat as fat deposits are burned for energy, while concurrently releasing chemicals via sweating, sebum (produced by the skin's sebaceous glands), and regular bowel movements.
The Narconon program rejects the disease model of addiction, and its program literature has described the terminology used by that model as being disempowering to patients.
The Narconon treatment program follows the "social education" model of drug rehabilitation. The program is four-to-six months and includes a regimen of detoxification that includes "aerobic exercise, dry-sauna sweating, hydration and nutrition supplements; life skills trainings; and personalized plans for after-graduation living." The main premise of the detoxification regimen is that "the activation of drug residuals stored in the body can elicit drug cravings in the former drug user thus tempting relapse. The Narconon detoxification regimen is designed to eliminate drug residues from drug users' bodies and thus reduce the cravings that may be caused by these residues."
Experts from mainstream medicine and toxicology have repeatedly argued that Hubbard's method has no validity: "one may from a pharmacological point of view strongly question the idea of using enforced sweating to expel drugs from the body", says Professor Folke Sjoqvist in a 1996 report for the Swedish government, while an Oklahoma Board of Mental Health report from 1990 states that, "Although minute quantities of some drugs may be found in sweat the amount represents a small fraction of drug elimination".
Harris: And the sauna program, what Narconon contends is that in -- it in fact detoxifies your body. True? Casal: True. Harris: But there's no scientific basis that you can point me to to support that contention, is there, sir? Casal: You're correct. Harris: So when Narconon states that the sauna program detoxifies its students, you're not aware, as a medical doctor, of any scientific basis for that contention? Casal: I agree. Harris: The vitamin regimen. You're familiar with the vitamin regimen? Casal: Yes, sir. Harris: What -- do you have an opinion about whether or not the vitamin regimen is effective at treating addiction? Casal: I believe that it has very likely no bearing whatsoever on the treatment of addiction.
Narconon asserts that methadone, amphetamines, methamphetamines, morphine, copper, mercury, and other toxins, some consumed years earlier, leave the body by means of sweating. This contrasts with the view of the body's drug retention taken by mainstream science, which has found that most recreational drugs leave the body within a few days (with the exception of marijuana, which in the case of frequent use can remain in the body for up to a month).
According to Narconon, vitamin and mineral supplements are needed to address nutritional deficiencies and offset nutrient loss due to sweating. Other key elements in the program are the use of niacin, which Hubbard believed to increase free fatty acid mobilization, and the inclusion of polyunsaturated fats which he thought to increase the excretion rate of some toxin compounds. Together with a proper amount of sleep, this regime is thought by Narconon to mobilize and eliminate long-term stored toxins.
Narconon's "drug bomb" includes a niacindose of 4000 mg/day. The risk to patients of taking high-dose niacin is one reason why medical experts assessing the Narconon program have found that it is a danger to patients; the Narconon program has been banned in a number of jurisdictions including France and Quebec.
Because Narconon doctrines dictate that patients undergoing its program exhibit physical symptoms relating to the drugs which are (supposedly) being 'sweated out', and because Narconon's staff are not medically qualified or typically qualified in orthodox drug rehabilitation, there is a risk that serious medical symptoms - from niacinoverdose, or from other causes - may be misinterpreted by Narconon staff as the desirable effects of detoxification:
The Narconon Program exposes its patients to the risk of delayed withdrawal phenomena such as seizures, delirium and/or hallucinations. ... The Narconon program presents a potential risk to the patients of the Narconon program that delayed withdrawal phenomena such as seizures, delirium or hallucination that are occasionally seen several days after cessation of drugs such as benzodiazepines, may be misinterpreted by Narconon's non-medical staff as the effect of mobilizing the drug from fat during the sauna sweat-out procedure period. There is also a potential risk that the reported re-experience of the abused drugs' effect during the sauna sweat-out program may be the result of misinterpreted symptoms of hyperthermia or electrolyte imbalance...
The remainder of the Narconon course uses "training routines" or "TRs" originally devised by Hubbard to teach communications skills to Scientologists. In the Narconon variant, these courses claim to be designed to rehabilitate drug abusers. These training routines sometimes include TR 8, which involves the individual commanding an ashtray to "stand up" and "sit down", and thanking it for doing so, as loudly as they can. Former Scientologists say that the purpose of the drill is for the individual to "beam" their "intention" into the ashtray to make it move.
Narconon typically claims success rates as high as 75% of the graduates of the Narconon program remaining drug-free for the rest of their lives, and has in the past claimed "very close to a 100% success rate". However, these numbers are highly controversial, and there exist no independent studies which support these claims.
Independent researchers have found considerably lower rates of success. At least one website critical of Narconon cites a Swedish research study which gives a rate of 6.6%. Narconon has reported the same study's findings as being much more favorable, although its representation of the study is greatly simplified.
The Church of Scientology claims that "the Narconon success rate is not merely the world’s highest, it is four times better than international averages", while a systematic review of evidence regarding Narconon's efficacy conducted by the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services on behalf of the Norwegian Directorate of Health concluded that:
Collectively, one quasi- experimental and five non-experimental studies document lack of evidence of the preventive effects of these programs. Thus, there is currently no reliable evidence for the effectiveness of Narconon as a primary or secondary drug prevention program. This is partly due to the insufficient research evidence about Narconon and partly due to the non-experimental nature of the few studies that exist.
In 1999, Scientologists from Clearwater, Florida tried to get a Narconon drug-education program installed into the Pinellas County school district. After a hearing on the matter, a school-district committee refused to allow students to participate in an anti-drug program based on the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, citing that teaching students about the "tone scale" and other trappings of Scientology was inappropriate for a drug-education program for their schools.
In 2004, Narconon offered an anti-drug program to public schools in California, free of charge. A series of articles in the San Francisco Chronicle on 9 and 10 June 2004, resulted in California school officials investigating Narconon's claims. The study found that Narconon's program did not reflect medically and scientifically based practices and that it offered students misleading information about drug use and abuse.
As a result of the investigation, on 23 February 2005, the state's superintendent of public instruction, Jack O'Connell, officially recommended that all schools in the state reject the Narconon program. O'Connell's secretary announced that the school systems in Los Angeles and San Francisco had dropped the program. The president of Narconon, Clark Carr, responded that the study presented only limited information about his organization's work, and that those efforts were "accurate and relevant to the current challenges children face with drugs."
The UK prisons ombudsman recommended to prison governors that Narconon rehabilitation programs not be used in prisons although some schools in the UK are using these programs; The Sunday Times said this was because schools are less aware of Narconon's links to the Church of Scientology.
In September 2012, the 149 Church of England schools in the Diocese of London were warned not to accept offers from Narconon to give lectures to their pupils, following complaints from parents.
In 2008, Narconon executive Marie Cecchini published, with Richard Lennox, a paper which claimed to show that the Narconon educational program reduced drug use among youths. However, the study was funded by Narconon's parent organisation, ABLE, and subsequent correspondence in the same journal asserted that the study's conclusions were contradicted by its own data: that the control group "were more likely to resist pressures to take drugs" than the Narconon group.
Jocelyne Dorfmann, Grancey-sur-Ource, France (1984)
In 1984, a 34 year-old French woman named Jocelyne Dorfmann died from an untreated epilepsy crisis while undergoing treatment at a Narconon center in Grancey-sur-Ource (near Dijon). The assistant-director of that center was convicted of lack of assistance to a person in danger and the Narconon center was closed.
Medical experts reported that her death was caused by "an epileptic seizure due to the absence of sufficient treatment at its beginning and of emergency treatment during the seizure". Narconon staff failed to call for medical assistance, as a result of which, Dorfmann died.
Paride Ella and Giuseppe Tomba, Valsassina, Italy (1995)
In 1995, two young men, Paride Ella (22) and Giuseppe Tomba (26) died suddenly at the Narconon centre in Taceno, Valsassina. Paride Ella died of acute kidney failure (symptoms consistent with a niacin overdose), while the recorded cause of death for Giuseppe Tomba was heart attack.
Both patients suffered similar symptoms, vomiting and diarrhoea, for days before their deaths. The young men died within a few days of one another, in the so-called 'detoxification' (ultra-high doses of niacin and other vitamins, multi-hour saunas) stage of the Narconon program.
The Narconon centre had no medical staff and was unable - in either case - to diagnose the seriousness of their condition. Before the deaths, the village's mayor had asked for the Narconon centre to be closed.
Federica X, Torre dell'Orso, Italy (2002)
In Italy, a 33-year-old Italian female patient of the Narconon center in Torre dell'Orso died under similar conditions in 2002.
Federica died from peritonitis, according to her autopsy. She first began to suffer from stomach pains on Monday 7 October 2002, and was driven to the first aid station at Meledugno, which she was given painkillers. She was driven to hospital the following evening, where she died soon after being admitted in a coma.
Narconon patient Giovanni Costa later stabbed staff member Rodolfo Savino, whom Costa claimed had ignored Federica's symptoms, and given her insufficient medical aid. Costa was arrested and charged with attempted murder.
Patrick Desmond, Norcross, Georgia, US (2008)
His family alleged wrongful death and filed a lawsuit against Narconon, claiming that Narconon's actions led to his death, and that Narconon falsely claimed to be a licensed inpatient program.
Atlanta's Channel 2 News said that:
The evidence includes documents with Narconon's letterhead with the word "outpatient" when reporting Patrick's death to state investigators, but letterhead on letters sent to Florida courts omitted the word "outpatient".
Desmond's family paid Narconon $30,000 for his treatment. Narconon Georgia director Mary Rieser commented to a reporter:
There's things that people do to themselves. Of course it's sad.
The lawsuit between Narconon Of Georgia and the Desmond family was settled 'out of court' in February 2013, three days before jury selection was scheduled to begin.
The settlement followed harsh sanctions against Narconon by the trial judge Stacey K. Hydrick, who said in a court order that Narconon Of Georgia had:
Intentionally, willfully and repeatedly provided false and misleading responses to plaintiff’s discovery requests regarding issues relevant to the resolution of this case
and that it had:
Repeatedly failed to produce, and on multiple occasions falsely denied the existence of clearly relevant, responsive documents and information.
Judge Hydrick withdrew Narconon's response to the Desmond family's allegations, meaning that if the case had not been settled then the Desmond family's claims would essentially have gone unopposed by Narconon.
Narconon International denied that it had any connection with Narconon of Georgia, although documents disclosed in the Patrick case showed that Narconon Georgia's executive director Mary Rieser reported to Narconon International, to the Church of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs, and to ABLE (Narconon International's parent corporation), describing in her reports the evening of Patrick's death:
On June 10th 2008 a student was watching a basketball game late in the evening with Brad in his apartment. They consumed tequila and the student gained access to his cash which was supposed to be locked in that apartment. A sad thing happened later in the evening. Two days later we tested Brad and he was dirty for methadone, PCP, cocaine and methamphetamine.
—Mary Rieser, "Things That Shouldn't Be", 14 August 2008 (quoted in evidence for lawsuit Estate of Patrick Desmond v Narconon of Georgia et al)
Multiple deaths at Narconon Arrowhead, Oklahoma, US (2009-2012)
The investigation includes the recent deaths of four patients: Stacy Dawn Murphy, aged 20, who died at Narconon Arrowhead on 19 July 2012; Hillary Holten, 21, who was found dead at the facility on 11 April 2012; 32-year-old Gabriel Graves, who died there on 26 October 2011; and 28-year-old Kaysie Dianne Werninck, also a patient at Narconon Arrowhead, who was found dead on 3 March 2009.
Following media attention surrounding the deaths, the National Association of Forensic Counselors permanently revoked the Certified Chemical Dependency Counseling certification of several Narconon Arrowhead employees including director Gary Smith, and in August 2013 the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health Substance Abuse Services permanently revoked the facility's permit for medical detoxification after Narconon had exhausted all avenues for protesting the decision.
Narconon in Oklahoma
Something's terribly wrong there. We sent her there to get better, not to die.
—Robert Murphy, father of deceased Stacy Dawn Murphy, 
Narconon's first presence in the state of Oklahoma was at the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School, near Newkirk. Narconon made the argument that operating on an Indian Reservation obviated the need for a state license.
Narconon began operations in Oklahoma in 1990, as an unlicensed facility on the site of the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School near the town of Newkirk, claiming that it did not require a state licence, as it was operating on an Indian reservation. In 1992 it applied for a state licence, and was twice refused by the Oklahoma Mental Health Department, which found "no evidence that drug and alcohol abuse education was part of the program";, and declared the program "not medically safe"; a decision to which Narconon spokesperson Kirstie Alley responded, "The arrogance and irresponsibility of the mental health board will not survive the outrage of the many thousands of parents, graduates and supporters from the scientific community".
During the period 1989-1992, Narconon (through Scientology attorney Tim Bowles) filed lawsuits against the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, its members, and local newspaper editor Robert Lobsinger (who had written about Narconon's Scientology connection). Narconon contacted the Mayor of Newkirk's 12-year-old son at a library, and hired a private detective firm to research Narconon's opponents, leading residents to fear retribution if they spoke out against Narconon.
A Narconon spokesman quoted by the New York Times described Narconon's critics in Newkirk as, "in favor of drug abuse… They're either connected to selling drugs or they're using drugs."
Narconon Arrowhead, Oklahoma, where various law enforcement agencies are investigating recent deaths.
Narconon achieved exemption from the requirement for state licensing in 1992, as a result of approval from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Scientology leader David Miscavige commented on the case in an interview with ABC NewsNightline, saying, "There are a group of people on this planet who find us to be a threat to their existence, and they will do everything in their power to stop us. And that is the mental health field. I didn't pick a war with them."
In 2012, a paid advert in the Oklahoma Gazette contained allegations from a previously unknown group named "Oklahomans for the preservation of homeland security and american values, (ohsav)" [sic]. The advert referred to recent TV news stories about Narconon and Scientology, named some of Narconon's critics in Oklahoma, and alleged those critics had "subjugated [their] individuality for [their] own thirst for hatred", had an "agenda of religious intolerance, racial discrimination or disdain for corporate America", and blamed them for "public disinformation hate campaigns against Blacks, Jews, Muslims and Scientologists". The advertisement showed the characteristics of a Scientology "DA flier".
Kaysie Dianne Werninck
The parents of Kaysie Dianne Werninck, who died at Narconon Arrowhead on 3 March 2009, filed a lawsuit against the center claiming her death was "a result of the defendant's [Narconon's] gross negligence". The case was settled.
Hillary Holten, whose parents filed a lawsuit against Narconon Arrowhead, is alleged by her parents to have died due to lack of medical care. Their lawsuit states that she "had a history of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, a condition which required the daily administration of Dexamethasone and in extreme circumstances, an injection of liquid cortisone", and that Narconon Arrowhead did not properly manage her medical condition. Gary Smith of Narconon refrained from comment, adding that "there are federal rights to privacy laws which prohibit us from discussing anything about former clients."
Stacy Murphy's father said Narconon officials told him that when his daughter was found dead alone in the 'detox' room, she had not been checked on for two and a half hours. "That's too long, if they thought she was overdosed, why didn't they have someone with her the whole time?" he said, adding "We sent her there to get better, not to die". Gary Smith, director of the facility, responded in an email statement that, "It is always deeply saddening when drug addiction takes a life or destroys a family. ... For the family the pain of losing a loved one to addiction is unimaginable."
A patient who was resident at Narconon Arrowhead at the time of Stacy's death said, "There was no doctor there, no nurse on staff. There's nothing like that there ... The staff, they're all former patients. ... My understanding is that everyone there is pretty much a former patient. ... The drugs that would have saved Stacy's life were either not available or no one there knew how to administer it." Now he fears retaliation for talking to the police and media: "I'm afraid for my life."
Stacy's roommate, Destanie Ramsey, called police on the night of Stacy's death in order to leave Narconon Arrowhead, where she said she was being held against her will.
Public and media response
Protests over the deaths have taken place outside the Narconon centre; on 23/24 June 2012, a protest, planned to include bereaved family members, was disrupted by road resurfacing works outside the facility, paid for by Narconon. Pittsburg County Commission Chairman Gene Rogers explained that, "He (Gary Smith) called me and said they might be having a problem with the public that weekend and he wanted help policing the area and he asked about doing overlaying (of the road)".
Oklahoma State Senator Tom Ivester commented that, "Clearly something isn’t right and we have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to end this predatory business being run by the Church of Scientology disguised as drug treatment", adding, "This is a disgusting business that preys on desperate family members and their sick loved ones, scamming them out of thousands of dollars with the promise of providing hope and new life. It’s a disgrace to have these people operating in the state of Oklahoma." In direct response to the Arrowhead deaths, Ivestor introduced legislation to expand Oklahoma's ability to regulate rehab facilities.
In response to an NBCRock Center news report on the facility, Narconon President Clark Carr called its criticism of Narconon "bigoted", and described Narconon as addicts' "last chance for a decent, honest, drug-free life".
State code violations
Narconon facilities in California were cited repeatedly for violations by state inspectors. Violations included administering medication without authorization, having alcohol on the facility, and not having proper bedding for clients. Narconon has also attempted to silence opposition, including sending letters to neighbors of a proposed facility in Leona Valley, California threatening legal action for criticism. Residents of the Leona Valley were concerned that Narconon would increase crime. The local town council recommended an eight-foot security fence and independent security, which was objected to by Narconon officials.
March 2013, Narcanon Arrowhead-  National Association of Forensic Counselors President Karla Taylor told The McAlester News-Capital that CEO Gary Smith and the employee's certificates were revoked earlier this month. Taylor said she can't say why the certificates were revoked.
In Clearwater, Florida, an endorsement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, which Narconon submitted in support of its application for a state license to conduct anti-drug educational programs, was found to be a forgery.
Investigation in Russia
In April 2007, it was revealed that Moscow's South District office of public procurator had begun an investigation into Narconon's activities in Russia. The Moskovsky Komsomolets daily paper reported that legal proceedings were begun against the head of the clinic "Narconon-Standard", for violating bans in Russian medical practices. Russian law enforcement became interested after receiving many complaints from citizens about the high fees charged by Narconon. The Narconon office in Bolshaya Tulskaya St., Moscow was searched, and documents and unidentified medications were seized.
In April 2008, as part of an investigation in Ulyanovsk into the Church of Scientology, police searched a Narconon office in the town of Dimitrovgrad.
Narconon Trois-Rivières closed by Quebec health authorities
On 17 April 2012, Quebec health officials ordered the Narconon in Trois-Rivières to close, and relocate its 32 residents. After an investigation into Narconon Trois-Rivières' activities by the Centre Québécois d’Agrément (an independent body which monitors the quality of healthcare), the Mauricie Region's Health and Social Services Agency decided not to re-certify Narconon because of their concerns that its methods "may represent a risk to health" of patients.
The Agency's director, Marc Latour, said that Narconon Trois-Rivières was dangerous for patients, that it violated many of the criteria governing rehabilitation centres in Quebec, and that there was no medical supervision and no scientific basis to its treatment. He added that at least four clients had been hospitalized in recent months because of methods used at the centre.
Narconon Trois-Rivières issued a response, saying, "People with drug problems and their families should have a right to choose the program that works for them as these days there are many good alternative programs".
The closure follows a 2-year campaign by ex-Narconon patient and staff member David Love, whose negative experiences at Narconon prompted him to become one of its fiercest critics in Canada. While he was at Narconon Trois-Rivieres, Love reports that,
staff members withheld insulin from a diabetic patient undergoing the sauna treatment. That young man ended up in hospital for three days, Love said. In another [incident], it [Narconon] took away a patient's antidepressants. He jumped from a second-floor window in a suicide attempt.
Before the centre's closure, Narconon had alleged that Love's allegations were fictitious and that he had been bribed to make them; Andre Ahern, Director of Legal Affairs for Narconon Trois-Rivieres, said:
It strikes me most strange that Love is now attacking the very group [Narconon] that per his earlier statements saved his life. He changed his mind, apparently, after he began receiving payments from members of the Anonymous network.
Love is one of five former Narconon patients who have filed a complaint with Quebec's Human Rights Commission, alleging that their drug addiction was exploited by Narconon, in recruiting them into the program and making them do manual labout while taking part in it. Love also alleges that Narconon Trois-Rivieres earned around $16 million for Scientology between its opening in 2005 and its forced closure in 2012.
Pur Detox suicide attempt
In September 2012, Pur Detox, a Narconon offshoot, was sued in Orange County, California for negligence, medical malpractice, and negligent supervision.
In December 1988, the president of the Church of Scientology, Heber Jentzsch, was arrested in Spain after an investigation into Narconon that resulted in (later dropped) allegations that he and the Church of Scientology were defrauding Spanish citizens and running its centers with unqualified staff. The judge in the case said at a news conference after the arrests that the only god of the church of Scientology is money, and he compared the church to a pyramid scheme in which members pay increasing sums of money. He said that Narconon swindled its clients and lured them into Scientology. In 1989, 75 Scientologists in Italy were arrested and an investigation showed that "parents of drug addicts were paying heavy monthly fees to Narconon, which advertised itself as a drug rehabilitation and cure center, but getting nothing in return." By the end of 1991 the court found there was no evidence to support prosecutors’ allegations that drug rehabilitation and other programs sponsored by the Church of Scientology in Spain amounted to illicit gathering aimed at activities such as bilking people of money. In April 2002, the charge was formally dropped. The court also ordered that the bail bond deposited for his release in 1988 be returned to the Church along with interest, which nearly doubled the original amount.
On 8 November 2006, the Associated Press reported that Narconon was one of the Scientology groups that would pay back a total of 3.5 million dollars of illegal funds from EarthLink co-founder Reed Slatkin:
"Slatkin, who was once an ordained Scientology minister, paid $1.7 million from his scheme directly to Scientology groups, while millions of dollars more were funneled through other investors to groups affiliated with the church, bankruptcy trustee R. Todd Neilson said in court filings. Among the church groups to receive ill-gotten gains from Slatkin's scheme were Narconon International, the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International and the Church of Scientology Western United States, the filings said. The $3.5 million being returned by the church groups was the result of a negotiated compromise, Scientology attorney David Schindler and Alexander Pilmer, an attorney for Neilson, said." 
Head of Narconon deported from Kazakhstan
In July 2008, the head of Narconon in Kazakhstan was deported: Kazakh Justice Minister Zagipa Baliyeva announced that "foreigners from the USA, Georgia, South Korea and Japan have been deported from the country by law-enforcement agencies and in line with court rulings for violating the rules regarding the stay of foreigners and carrying out missionary activities without registration. In particular, with a further ban on entering Kazakhstan for five years, the head of the Narconon public foundation affiliated with the Church of Scientology has been deported," adding, "27 cases were uncovered where heads of non-traditional religious organizations violated the law on the freedom of conscience and religious organizations; in particular, materials propagating radical ideas and teachings of non-traditional religions were seized from them".
Accusation of website graphics design/layout plagiarism
Narconon Georgia closed amid investigation for insurance fraud
The family of one patient said that the group was billing insurance companies for treatments that had never been given, and the doctors for whom the costs were being billed claimed never to have met the patient.
State investigators discovered nearly $3 million of insurance fraud at Narconon Georgia; in September 2013, the facility surrendered its state license in order to avoid criminal charges.
Narconon in California Sued
In March of 2014, attorney Ryan Hamilton filed two civil lawsuits with the State of California.
The first civil lawsuit was filed on behalf of Angelo Amato of Illinois who purchased Narconon's Purification Rundown at the Scientology facility known as Narconon Fresh Start (a.k.a. Sunshine Summit Lodge) In Warner Springs, California, after Amato searched the Internet for drug treatment facilities and believed allegedly fraudulent claims by Scientology which purported to be an "independent consultant" web site. Amato claims to have been defrauded of $31,000 and began the Narconon program only to discover that it was actually Scientology being practiced, alleging that no actual drug treatment was offered at the facility.
The second civil lawsuit was filed on behalf of plaintiffs Christie Estrada and Branden Chavez of New Mexico who also researched "drug treatment facilities" on the Internet and was allegedly deceived by Narconon Fresh Start in to paying $33,000 before Scientology's Purification Rundown process could be applied, with Narconon Fresh Start allegedly asking for $23,000 of that fee up front in cash. The defendants in this case are also Narconon Fresh Start.
The core plaintiff complaints cover a spectrum of allegations of criminal misconduct by Scientology which include insurance fraud, denial that Narconon is Scientology, fraudulent claims that Narconon staff were medically trained in drug treatment, and a number of other false claims.
Narconon in Nevada Sued
In February of 2014, attorney Ryan Hamilton filed an additional civil lawsuit with the State of Nevada.
Michael Tarr, a former heroin addict and Narconon client, and his mother Cathy, who borrowed the money to pay Narconon for his participation, sued Narconon Fresh Start (doing business as Rainbow Canyon Retreat) for fraud, breach of contract and negligence. The Tarrs claimed that while resident at Narconon, Michael Tarr did not receive detoxification treatment but rather indoctrination into Scientology, and asked the court to award them punitive damages as well as a refund of Narconon's £33,000 fees and their legal expenses.
The Tarr plaintiff's civil lawsuit followed closely behind a previous civil lawsuit filed by Hamilton on behalf of David, Stacy, and Jack Welch of Texas who also allege that Narconon Fresh start committed breach of contract, fraud, and negligence.
Spin-offs and related groups
Stall for 'The Truth About Drugs', one of the names under which Narconon and Scientology market their programs.
Narconon also market and operates Narconon facilities under other names, partly to hide they are part of Scientology. There are also other Scientology-affiliated drug rehabilitation groups that are based on the Purification rundown.
Drug Free Ambasadors is a Narconon program targeting schools and youth organizations.
Israel Says No to Drugs is a Scientology-affiliated organization based in Jaffa.
Narconon and support from other religious groups
Non-Scientology religious figures that have voiced support for Narconon have included Reverend Charles Kennedy of The Glorious Church of God in Christ, Imam Wilmore Sadiki, James Mclaughlin of the Wayman Chapel, Baptist pastor Alfreddie Johnson, Reverend Catherine Bego of the Word Evangelism Ministry, and Tony Muhammad of the Nation of Islam.
The Narconon website also mentions funding from more traditional churches, apart from civic volunteer organizations, corporations, foundations and volunteer agencies.
^ abcCalifornia Healthy Kids Resource Center; Deborah Wood, Ph.D. (January 2005). Narconon Drug Abuse Prevention Program Evaluation (Report). California, US: California Department of Education / California Department of Public Health. http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/at/narcononevaluation.asp. Retrieved 7 September 2012. "Some drug-related information presented in the NDAP [Narconon] and supplementary resources — although aligned with the Narconon drug rehabilitation methodology — does not reflect accurate, widely accepted medical and scientific evidence. Some information is misleading because it is overstated or a distinction between drug use and abuse is lacking. ... This information reflects hypothesized processes of drug metabolism, bioavailability, and psychoactive impact, and is the premise for the Narconon detoxification regimen. This theoretical information does not reflect current evidence that is widely accepted and recognized as medically and scientifically accurate. ... Inaccuracies and misleading inferences were not limited to a single material, but were evident in NDAP elementary, middle and high school presentation outlines and delivery scripts and in the supplementary drug prevention materials available to schools ... Narconon program materials were independently reviewed by fourteen reviewers and three CHKRC staff. Reviewers included five doctors (M.D.s), four board certified in pediatrics and adolescent medicine and/or with specific expertise in addiction and substance abuse; two doctors (Ph.Ds) with expertise in child and adolescent development; one doctor (Ph.D.) with expertise in prevention research and program evaluation of substance abuse programs. Reviewers also included nine school health education specialists (with teaching credentials and/or masters level health or education degrees) including elementary, middle, and high school teachers, university faculty, and school district/county office of education tobacco, alcohol, and other drug abuse prevention education coordinators."
^ abc"Scientology Presents Narconon Program". Westlake Post. 30 April 1970. ""The conference presented current programs effective in alleviating drug problems. No program which employs drug or electric shock therapy was presented, as it has been discovered that groups which condone these techniques have only been pretending to be effective in drug rehabilitation", said Max Prudente, Scientology spokesman. ... "Based solely on the philosophy and tenets of Scientology, the applied religious philosophy, this program has achieved new and dramatic breakthroughs in the field of drug rehabilitation. Its nearly 85% success ratio has earned high praise from Governors, state and federal officials and correction authorities across the U.S., " Prudente said."
^ abKyle Smith (20 April 2007). "DON'T BE TRICKED BY $CI-FI TOM-FOOLERY". New York Post. Retrieved 20 March 2014. "Those who want a tan from his celebrity glow will urge a fair hearing for his quackery. Obscure City Councilman Hiram Monserrate suddenly finds himself talked about after issuing a proclamation of huzzahs for L. Ron Hubbard. Three: The Ground Zero maladies are so baffling that workers will try anything. Anyone who feels better will credit any placebo at hand - whether Cruise or the Easter Bunny. In 1991, Time called Scientology's anti-drug program "Narconon" a "vehicle for drawing addicts into the cult" - which the magazine said "invented hundreds of goods and services for which members are urged to give up 'donations' " - such as $1,250 for advice on "moving swiftly up the Bridge" of enlightenment. That's New Age techno-gobbledygook for advice on buying swiftly up the Bridge of Brooklyn. Scientology fronts such as the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project - its Web site immediately recognizable as the work of Hubbardites by its logo, which looks like the cover of a Robert Heinlein paperback from 1971 - hint that their gimmicks might possibly interest anyone dreaming of weight loss, higher I.Q. or freedom from addiction. And you might be extra-specially interested if you've faced heart disease, cancer, Agent Orange or Chernobyl. As Mayor Bloomberg put it, Scientology "is not science." Nope. It's science fiction."
^"Drugs charity is front for 'dangerous' organisation; Insight; Focus". Sunday Times. 7 January 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2014. "Narconon's international website claims: "The ministry of health in England (sic) has also directly funded Narconon residential rehabilitation." But the Department of Health denies any knowledge of this. ... Professor Stephen Kent, a Canadian academic who is an authority on Scientology, said: "The connection between Narconon and Scientology is solid. Of course, Scientology tries to get non-Scientologists involved in the programme, but the engine behind the programme is Scientology." ... The British government expressed concern about Narconon as long as eight years ago. A 1998 memo from the Home Office's drug strategy unit warned that the charity had its "roots in the Church of Scientology and (is) not in the mainstream of drug rehabilitation". Tower Hamlets council in east London advises its schools against using Narconon. DrugScope, one of the UK's main drug charities, said: "We feel that the quality of Narconon's information is not objective and non-judgmental. It does not have any credibility." Stephen Shaw, the prisons ombudsman, advised that inmates in British jails should not receive drug education from Narconon because it is so "closely associated with the Church of Scientology"."
^ abcMarshall, John (24 January 1980). "The Scientology Papers / Hubbard still gave orders, records show". The Globe and Mail. "A document with FBI number 7822, dated Nov. 5, 1976, and signed by Judy Taussig, a U. S. national official of Scientology, defined the correct use of the codes. They were to be used, the court learned, for groups or actions that we don't want connected to LRH or MSH. This is handled by coding their names. Also coding the group or action if it falls into categories #1-#8 That list included incriminating activities, unpunished crimes, and things like lobbying where this is prohibited in non-profit corporations, or money deals that might provoke government tax offices. The document also said the codes should be used for words of actions that could tend to dispute the fact that the C of S motives are humanitarian, i.e., harass, eradicate, attack, destroy, annihilate ... spreading a rumor, entrapment, stir up opposition. And codes should be used for the names of front groups that we do not want connected with the C of S and for anything that gives specific and actual evidence that the C of S is in legal control of B6 groups. These are groups that are separate legal entities to the C of S. Narconon front. An attachment to the document, listed in the prosecution inventory as item 104 in Box C16, said B6 groups include Narconon, a drug treatment organization staffed by Scientologists and using Mr. Hubbard's mental health techniques."
^ ab"A Turning Point in our History". International Scientology News. 27 May 2004. "The answer is to make every one of our orgs a Central Organisation, a headquarters responsible for every sector of Scientology activity across its entire geographic zone - all of it! ... International Management bodies exist today for each sector of activity; including ... Social Betterment Activities which handle drug rehabilitation [Narconon] ... And each one now emanates from the Central Org into the environment."
^ ab"Creating a New Civilisation: YOUR ROLE". wise at work. 2005. p. 14. "The Public Divisions ... are responsible to emanate [sic] every type of LRH technology ... “Since each Church will be the Central Organization for their area,” Mr. Miscavige explained, “there are displays encompassing every sector — with descriptions understandable by Scientologists and non- Scientologists alike. They both enlighten and generate new activities: from salvaging lives from illiteracy, addiction [Narconon] and crime; to programs for opening new groups to handle community ruins [sic]. It also includes everything to establish new missions, groups and VM chapters.” With such displays, the answer to questions on Scientology, LRH Admin Tech or LRH himself becomes just four words: Go to the org."
^ abReitman, Janet (2011). "The Celebrity Strategy" (Hardback). Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. p. 257. ISBN978-0-618-88302-8. Retrieved 7 September 2012. "The use of social reform groups to spread L. Ron Hubbard's ideas had long been an integral part of Scientology, and was in fact one of the original objectives of the Guardian's Office. Since the late 1960s, the church has disseminated its philosophy through a number of organizations with hidden ties to Scientology, notably Narconon, a program that treats drug addiction and promotes Hubbard's holistic detoxification regimen, the Purification Rundown."
^Behar, Richard (May 6, 1991). "Scientology: The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power". Time. Retrieved 2014-03-20. "DRUG TREATMENT. Hubbard's purification treatments are the mainstay of Narconon, a Scientology-run chain of 33 alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers -- some in prisons under the name "Criminon" -- in 12 countries. Narconon, a classic vehicle for drawing addicts into the cult, now plans to open what it calls the world's largest treatment center, a 1,400-bed facility on an Indian reservation near Newkirk, Okla. (pop. 2,400). At a 1989 ceremony in Newkirk, the Association for Better Living and Education presented Narconon a check for $200,000 and a study praising its work. The association turned out to be part of Scientology itself. Today the town is battling to keep out the cult, which has fought back through such tactics as sending private detectives to snoop on the mayor and the local newspaper publisher."
^Malcolm Knox (September 2009). "Only Itself to Blame: The Church of Scientology". The Monthly. Retrieved 14 September 2012. "Though a master in using the media and the courts to protect and project its image, Scientology has not always been so ostentatious in its proselytising. The church is an umbrella for subsidiary groups, such as ... Narconon... these groups have been criticised for appearing at Australian schools, community open days, and even having police distribute their material, without declaring their Scientology background. In January 2007, NSW police withdrew anti-drug pamphlets from stations in the Hunter region when it was discovered they were provided by Scientologists. ... Drug Free Ambassadors were handing out their pamphlets on the Gold Coast last ‘schoolies’ week’"
^"What Germans think about their Narconon". Der Spiegel. 21 October 1991. Retrieved 20 March 2014. "The enterprising Scientology sect increases its profits thanks to the misery of addicts. The cover organization, Narconon, offers drug rehabilitation therapy that, in the opinion of experts and doctors in the field, is not only useless but also dangerous. ... Narconon closely follows the motto of the Scientology sect's founder, Lafayette Ron Hubbard, who died in 1986 at the age of 74. The discoverer of this pseudo-scientific hocus pocus, gave this advice: Make money, make more money, make other people make money. The disciples at Narconon follow this order. It is officially an independent subsidiary of Scientology. The Scientologists have developed countless supposedly humanitarian initiatives around their church. One example is the commission for the violations of psychiatry against human rights. Another is the organization for the furthering of religious tolerance and interhuman relations. In fact all these activities, like the drug rehabilitation program, are only to further the fame and increase the paying followers of the sect."
^"The Four Basic Social Programs". The Hawaiian-American. 17 December 1975. Retrieved 6 September 2012. "We talked with Rev. Diana Harris, Pastor of the Church of Scientology of Hawaii ... and she gave us a complete background on the church's social programs for those in need in our community. ... Another community program the church offers is Narconon - a program designed to assist persons to get off drugs and to keep off drugs. The program was utilized in Oahu State Prison for a while and enjoyed a very high rate of success, according to Pastor Harris. They [Scientology] have been asked to consider re-introducing the program to the prison at a later date."
^"NARCONON to give awards". The Phoenix Gazette. 19 May 1970. Retrieved 6 September 2012. "General information regarding the technology of Scientology, upon which NARCONON is based, can be secured from the Institute of Applied Philosophy"
^Farley, Robert (30 March 2003). "Detox center seeks acceptance". St Petersburg Times. "When Narconon opened its Chilocco facility in 1991, the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health issued a blistering assessment in denying its application for certification. "There is no credible evidence establishing the effectiveness of the Narconon program to its patients," the board concluded. It attacked the program as medically unsafe; dismissed the sauna program as unproven; and criticized Narconon for inappropriately taking some patients off prescribed psychiatric medication."
^"30 arrested in Paris crackdown on Scientologists". Agence France-Presse. 14 January 1992. Retrieved 20 March 2014. "About 30 Scientologists were arrested -- and 19 of them later indicted -- between May and October 1990 on charges of fraud, conspiracy to defraud and the illegal practice of medicine following the 1988 suicide of a church member in Lyon, eastern France. ... The sect has often found itself in trouble with officialdom the world over, accused of defrauding and brainwashing followers and, in France, of quackery at its illegal anti-drug clinics called "Narconon.""
^ abAbgrall, Jean-Marie (2001). Healing Or Stealing?: Medical Charlatans in the New Age. p. 193. ISBN1-892941-51-1. Retrieved 24 September 2012. "Narconon, a subsidiary of Scientology, and the association “Yes to Life, No to Drugs” have also made a specialty of the fight against drugs and treating drug addicts. ... Drug addicts are just one of the Scientologists’ targets for recruitment. The offer of care and healing through techniques derived from dianetics is only a come-on. The detoxification of the patient by means of “dianetics purification” is more a matter of manipulation, through the general weakening that it causes; it is a way of brainwashing the subject. Frequently convicted for illegal practice of medicine, violence, fraud and slander, the Scientologists have more and more trouble getting people to accept their techniques as effective health measures, as they like to claim. They recommend their purification processes to eliminate X-rays and nuclear radiation, and to treat goiter and warts, hypertension and psoriasis, hemorrhoids and myopia. . . why would anyone find that hard to swallow? Scientology has built a library of several hundreds of volumes of writings exalting the effects of purification, and its disciples spew propaganda based on irresponsible medical writings by doctors who are more interested in the support provided by Scientology than in their patients’ well-being. On the other hand, responsible scientific reviews have long since “eliminated” dianetics and purification from the lists of therapies — relegating them to the great bazaar of medical fraud. ... Medical charlatans do not base their claims on scientific proof but, quite to the contrary, on peremptory assertions — the kind of assertions that they challenge when they come out of the mouths of those who defend “real” medicine."
^Asimov, Nanette (2 October 2004). "Church's drug program flunks S.F. test / Panel of experts finds Scientology's Narconon lectures outdated, inaccurate". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 7 September 2012. "The program, Narconon Drug Prevention & Education, "often exemplifies the outdated, non-evidence-based and sometimes factually inaccurate approach, which has not served students well for decades," concluded Steve Heilig, director of health and education for the San Francisco Medical Society. In his letter to Trish Bascom, director of health programs for the San Francisco Unified School District, Heilig said five independent experts in the field of drug abuse had helped him evaluate Narconon's curriculum. ... "One of our reviewers opined that 'this (curriculum) reads like a high school science paper pieced together from the Internet, and not very well at that,' " Heilig wrote Bascom. "Another wrote that 'my comments will be brief, as this proposal hardly merits detailed analysis.' Another stated, 'As a parent, I would not want my child to participate in this kind of 'education.' " Heilig's team evaluated Narconon against a recent study by Rodney Skager, a professor emeritus at UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, describing what good anti-drug programs should offer students. "We concurred that ... the Narconon materials focus on some topics of lesser importance to the exclusion of best knowledge and practices," Heilig wrote, and that the curriculum contained "factual errors in basic concepts such as physical and mental effects, addiction and even spelling.""
^Köhler, Nicholas (26 September 2012). "Scientology's plan for Canada". Maclean's (Canada). "Local health officials said Narconon Trois-Rivières offered clients little medical supervision and relied on Scientology-inspired treatments with no scientific basis"
^Mieszkowski, Katharine (1 July 2005). "Scientology’s war on psychiatry". Salon.com. Retrieved 7 September 2012. "Narconon's discredited teachings include the pronouncements that drugs burn up the body's vitamins and minerals, that these vitamin deficiencies cause pain (which prompts more drug use), that rapid vitamin and nutrient losses cause the "munchies" among pot smokers, and that drugs build up in fat tissue and spur flashbacks and a hunger for more drugs. "This theoretical information does not reflect current evidence that is widely accepted and recognized as medically and scientifically accurate," the study found. This February, the California State Superintendent recommended a ban on Narconon in California schools, and San Francisco and Los Angeles school districts have indeed outlawed Narconon."
^ ab"Scientology And It's (sic) Applications". Mercer Island Reporter. 8 April 1971. Retrieved 6 September 2012. "Scientology claims to have the only workable technology to find the source of a problem and eradicate it. ... While everyone is looking for a solution to drug abuse, Scientologists have one and use it."
^Drolet, Eve (22 January 1970). "Dianetics Guarantees Victory Over Drugs". Honolulu Advertiser. p. A-2. Retrieved 6 September 2012. "The Reverend John W. Elliott, senior minister of the Church of Scientology and chairman of its Drug Abuse Prevention team, announces that a technique called Dianetic Counselling has completely cured 30 out of 30 persons who came to his group for help. "Dianetic Counselling", says Elliot, "is a new technology which has resolved not only the craving for drugs, but also the after-effects. This will revolutionize the whole area of drug abuse, and the threat it poses to the mental and physical health of the State". ... Elliot feels the vast majority of people have some form of psychosomatic illness. Hay fever, asthma and arthritis are listed in this category by Elliot who says that Dianetics resolves all such problems"
^Gilmore, Heather (15 August 2004). "Scientology ‘Detox’ Furor: clinic draws client raves and researcher jeers". New York Post.
^Crouch, Edmund A. C.; Laura C. Green (October 2007). "Comment on "Persistent organic pollutants in 9/11 world trade center rescue workers: Reduction following detoxification" by James Dahlgren, Marie Cecchini, Harpreet Takhar, and Olaf Paepke [Chemosphere 69/8 (2007) 1320–1325]". Chemosphere69 (8): 1330–1332. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2007.05.098. PMID17692360.
^Bracchi, Paul (13 June 1994). "Secret of a drugs 'cure' / Scientology: The Inside Story". Evening Argus. Retrieved 7 September 2012. "Asked if it was simply a "front" organisation to recruit people into the cult, Mr wood insisted: "I don't know of many organisations more up-front than the Church of Scientology. ... I know beyond doubt that Narconon does not recruit for nor promote the Church of Scientology and I know that subject is not mentioned nor included in the Narconon syllabus". He said "no Church of Scientology staff members work for Narconon". A Narconon leaflet lists two names with telephone numbers. One is Mr Wood. The other is Peter Mansell - public affairs officer at the national headquarters of Scientology at Saint Hill, East Grinstead. ... We have a copy of the Narconon Technical Line-Up, the final of which led straight to the doors of the cult. The message on the chart reads: "Route to nearest Org (Scientology organisation) for further services if individual so desires." The process is summed up in Narconon News. The headline and slogans speak for themselves: "Narconon is freeing people from crime and drug abuse and starting them up Ron's bridge to total freedom. Who can you start across that bridge.""
^Mason, Tania (13 September 2001). "C of E blasts 'drug salvation' claims of Scientologists". Marketing (UK: Brand Republic Group). Retrieved 8 April 2014. "Scientology spokesman Graeme Wilson said the claims were based on rehabilitation programmes run by the church and its affiliate charity, Narconon."
^"Results of the Narconon Program". www.narconon.org. Narconon International. Retrieved 1 February 2012. "The Narconon Program has one of the highest success rates in the field of drug rehabilitation, with outside studies showing 75% of the graduates going on to lead stable, ethical, productive drug-free lives."
^"Do Sport - Be Drug Free!". Challenge UK; The Newsletter of Narconon United Kingdom. 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012. "Narconon’s ensuing talks in primary schools were supported by donations from the likes of John Lewis, Coutts, M&S, Vintners and Ford, and claimed the support of ex-footballer and anti-drugs campaigner Paul Canoville. Over 2,000 children a year throughout the borough of Newham attended the talks provided by the Sussex-based group."
^"Cult Corner". Private Eye. 24 August 2012. p. 14. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
^Richard Lennox; Marie Cecchini (2008). "The NARCONON™ drug education curriculum for high school students: A non-randomized, controlled prevention trial". Retrieved 27 June 2011. Lennox and Cecchini's peer-reviewed paper in the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy presenting the findings of a research study conducted with approximately 1,000 Oklahoma and Hawai'i high-school students to test Narconon International’s high-school curriculum efficacy. They evaluated students using the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) Participant Outcome Measures for Discretionary Programs survey at three time periods: baseline, one month later, and six-month follow-up. Schools assigned to experimental conditions scheduled the Narconon curriculum between the baseline and one-month follow-up test; schools in control conditions received drug education after the six-month follow-up. The study concluded that at six-month follow-up, youths who received the Narconon drug education curriculum showed reduced drug use compared with controls across all drug categories tested; that the strongest effects were seen in all tobacco products and cigarette frequency followed by marijuana; that there were significant reductions measured for alcohol and amphetamines; that the program produced changes in knowledge, attitudes and perception of risk; and that the eight-module Narconon curriculum had thorough grounding in substance abuse aetiology and prevention theory, and reduced drug use among youths.
^"Tax declaration ABLE 2007" (PDF). August 2008. p. 37. Archived from the original on 1 February 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012. "ABLE funded a multi-year study of the delivery of the Narconon drug Education curriculum to high school students in Hawaii and Oklahoma, which was completed and written up in 2007."
^Beit-Hallahmi, Benjamin (1 September 2003). "Scientology: Religion or racket?". Marburg Journal of Religion8 (1). Retrieved 5 September 2012. "For Scientology, using fronts is one way of obtaining funds from government and charity sources (Mallia, 1998c). ... The so-called drug rehabilitation program known as Narconon has been an incredibly profitable front through federal grants and corporate donations (Mallia, 1998c). Fronts may help one another look respectable and make more money. Thus, the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE) may come out in support of Narconon"
^Catt, David (11 June 2008). "Further request for clarification". Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy3 (8). doi:10.1186/1747-597X-3-8. Retrieved 7 September 2012. "In Table 9, item D22 shows that a greater percentage of the control group feel they can easily resist pressures to take drugs than the drug education group (78.8% compared with 74.5%). The text on page 11 of the report states that “students who received the curriculum were more likely to say they could resist pressures to use drugs than those who did not receive the program”. Could I ask the authors to account for this seeming contradiction?"
^County Court of Dijon: judgment of 9 January 1987 (No 118-87)
^Report of LA COMMISSION D'ENQUÊTE SUR LES SECTES (Board of Inquiry into Cults) (Report). ASSEMBLÉE NATIONALE. 22 December 1995. http://www.cftf.com/french/Les_Sectes_en_France/cults.html. "Le Tribunal de grande instance de Dijon a, par ailleurs, été amené, dans un jugement du 9 janvier 1987 (no 118-87), à condamner le directeur-adjoint du centre Narconon de Grangey-sur-Ource pour non assistance à personne en danger. Ce centre, créé par l'Eglise de Scientologie, propose des cures de désintoxication en appliquant les méthodes de Ron Hubbard, à savoir la procédure de " purification " , fondée principalement sur plusieurs heures de sauna par jour, des " auditions " et une absorption importante de vitamines. En l'espèce, la victime était depuis longtemps soignée pour épilepsie et s'était adressée à cet organisme car elle souhaitait se " libérer des médicaments " . Le centre l'a, sans examen médical préalable, placée dans une chambre de " sevrage " . Or, les expertises médicales ont montré que le décès était dû à " un état de mal épileptique dû à l'absence de traitement suffisant à son début et de traitement d'urgence pendant l'état de mal. " Le jugement ne laisse aucun doute sur la responsabilité du centre : " Que si Jocelyne Dorfmann avait pris la décision de réduire sa consommation médicamenteuse, puis de l'interrompre au risque de compromettre son état de santé, les prévenus ne l'ont à aucun moment prévenue de la nécessité d'un examen médical d'admission, lequel aurait vraisemblablement permis de contre-indiquer la cure de sevrage ; qu'il est inconcevable que la victime ait pu être acceptée sans cet examen et sans entretien sérieux malgré ses déclarations sur son état de santé et son épilepsie, alors que les prévenus ont reconnu savoir qu'en cas de maladie grave, le traitement médical ne devait pas souffrir d'interruption ; " Que si lors de la survenue de la première crise, les prévenus ont pu se méprendre sur la nature exacte, la répétition des crises et leur intensité croissante devaient leur évoquer une origine distincte d'un état de manque qui, selon les médecins experts, ne peut être confondu avec un état épileptique ; " Qu'ils n'ont pas jugé utile de demander directement à la victime, alors qu'elle était encore consciente, si ces manifestations pouvaient correspondre aux crises d'épilepsie auxquelles elle avait fait allusion ou de faire appel au médecin le plus proche. (...) " --- Translation --- The County Court of Dijon, in addition, was brought, in a judgement of January 9, 1987 (No 118-87), to condemn the director-assistant of the Narconon center of Grangey- on-Ource for nonassistance to someone in danger. This center, created by the Church of Scientology, proposes detoxification by applying the methods of Ron Hubbard, namely the procedure of "purification," based mainly on several hours of sauna per day, "auditions," and a significant absorption of vitamins. In this case, the victim had been in long-term treatment for epilepsy and had addressed this organization because she wished "to be released from drugs." The center A, without preliminary medical examination, placed her in a "weaning" room. However, the medical experts showed that her death was due to "an epileptic seizure due to the absence of sufficient treatment at its beginning and of emergency treatment during the seizure." The judgement does not leave any doubt about the responsibility of the center: "That if Jocelyne Dorfmann had made the decision to reduce her consumption of medication, then to stop it with the risk of compromising her health, the defendants had not at any time prevented it of the need for a medical examination of admission, which would have probably made it possible to contra-indicate the cure of weaning; that it is inconceivable that the victim could be accepted without this examination and serious treatment in spite of her declarations as to her health and her epilepsy, whereas the defendants admitted knowing that in the event of serious illness, medical treatment was not to suffer from interruption; "That if at the time the first crisis occurred, the defendants could mistake its exact nature, the repetition of the crises and their increasing intensity were to evoke to them an origin distinct from a state of lack which, according to medical experts, cannot be confused with an epileptic state; "That they did not consider it useful to directly ask the victim, while she was still conscious, if these demonstrations could correspond to the epileptic fits to which she had referred or to call upon the nearest doctor (...)""
^Biglia, Andrea (20 February 1995). "Tragedia nella lotta alla droga [Tragedy while fighting drugs]". Corriere della Sera.
^"Patrick W. "Ricko" Desmond (1980-2008)". findagrave.com. Retrieved 3 October 2012. "Patrick W. Desmond died of a heroin drug overdose after receiving treatment at a Scientology drug rehab facility Narconon in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Narconon of Georgia, Narconon International, and the Narconon medical director Lisa Carolina Robbins, M.D."
^Christian Boone (7 October 2012). "Norcross drug facility under new scrutiny". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 5 October 2012. "Desmond’s death four years ago has focused attention on a decade’s worth of state investigations of the Norcross-based drug treatment program. Repeatedly, the state fielded complaints that Narconon, while licensed only for outpatient care, was illegally operating a residential facility."
^Fleischer, Jodie (1 October 2012). "2 Investigates: Patient death at Georgia Narconon / Death raises about questions about Scientology-linked program's license". wsbtv.com / Channel 2 (TV news). Retrieved 3 October 2012. "Colleen Desmond toured the classrooms in Norcross and visited the apartments at One Sovereign Place off Roswell Road. "We were assured all along the line, this was an inpatient situation," Desmond said. … The treatment plan was espoused by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. / Desmond's Death / Desmond told Fleischer that at the time, she didn't know anything about that plan, or that her son Patrick was drinking and doing drugs with students and staff in those apartments."
^"Scientology rehab center under fire after string of deaths". New York Daily News. 15 August 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012. "Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, who died July 19 at Narconon Arrowhead in Canadian, Okla. ... Hillary Holten, 21, was found dead at Narconon Arrowhead in April, and Gabriel Graves, 32, died there last October, the Muskogee Phoenix reported. Another patient, 28-year-old Kaysie Dianne Werninck, died there in 2009."
^"Discovery claimed in Narconon deaths". Muskogee Phoenix. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012. "Narconon has been under investigation since the July 19 death of Murphy, 20, of Owasso. The investigation has expanded to include three other deaths: Hillary Holten, 21, of Carr, who was found dead at Narconon Arrowhead in April; Graves, 32, who died at the facility in October; and the 2009 death of Kaysie Dianne Werninck, 28, according to Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns."
^"Narconon Drug Center will Appeal Certification Ruling". Durant (OK) Daily Democrat. 15 December 1991. p. 10-A. Retrieved 6 September 2012. "Mental Health department staff member Dennis Lewelling testified at the hearing that in studying records of the center, he could find no evidence that drug and alcohol abuse education was a part of the program."
^"Scientology's Oklahoma Nemesis, Bob Lobsinger: "They Lied Every Step of the Way"". Village Voice, The. 16 August 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012. "They sent one guy around trying to talk to the mayor. He knew who the mayor's kid was, somehow. So he followed the kid into the library and told him he need to talk to his dad. Then he gave him his card," Lobsinger says. "It was just to let the mayor know they knew where his kid was."
^Joel Sappell; Robert W. Welkos (29 June 1990). "On the Offensive Against an Array of Suspected Foes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 September 2012. "People who claim that I have conducted an improper investigation against them probably have so many things to hide," said Ingram. Church lawyer Cooley backed the investigator, saying: "I know of no impropriety that has ever been engaged in by Mr. Ingram or any other (private investigator) for the church. Mr. Ingram has done nothing wrong." ... Scientology attorneys in September mailed an "open letter" to many of Newkirk's 2,500 residents announcing that Ingram had been hired to investigate Narconon's adversaries. ... Ingram tracked down the mayor's 12-year-old son at the local public library, handed him a business card and told the boy to have his father call, Lobsinger said. "It was just a subtle bit of intimidation," he said. "It certainly did not do the mother much good. She was very unnerved." ... "They have a standard pattern," Bilger said of the Scientologists. "They try to be very aggressive. They try to intimidate. This is not the kind of atmosphere we need in the Newkirk community. . . . This tells me they are far from being harmless."
^David Miscavige (14 February 1992). A Conversation with David Miscavige. Interview with Ted Koppel. ABC NewsNightline. "DAVID MISCAVIGE: You want... you know, if you... I could have been on here two years ago and you would have brought something up, and it's over now. There have been these cases, but in the end, we come out on top, and I'm telling you, Ted, there are a group of people on this planet who find us to be a threat to their existence, and they will do everything in their power to stop us. And that is the mental health field. I didn't pick a war with them. You can ask them if they feel this way, and they will tell you that."
^Wade, Jarrel (18 August 2012). "Letter recounts death at Narconon Arrowhead". Tulsa World. Retrieved 7 September 2012. "In his month there, he describes his observations about the death of fellow Narconon student Gabriel Graves. "I saw the 'nurse' of the facility crying, walking out of (redacted) room with another staffer," the complainant said about his experience on Oct. 26, the day records show Graves died. "I stood there, shocked and scared. ... It was, however, hinted to us that he may have died of a drug overdose because we were told by one of the staff that came to brief us that we might 'end up like him.' " Graves' autopsy report lists his cause and manner of death as undetermined and unknown, records show. "It should be noted that while I was there the use and distribution of drugs by 'students' ... and staff was rampant," the complainant wrote to Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services officials. "I was asked on numerous occasions if I wanted any drugs, but since I do not do drugs, I declined. I was offered many different types of drugs, ones I had never even heard of. By observation, no one was concerned about the drug use at this time.""
^"News9 OKC Narconon Arrowhead Continued Coverage". Oklahoma, US: News9. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012. "Hillary Holten entered in Narconon's Arrowhead facility for help with her prescription drug addiction in April. Less than 48 hours later she was dead. In a lawsuit filed Thursday, attorneys say Holton had a medical condition, but employees at Narconon didn't provide her with the care, or medication she needed."
^Ortega, Tony (11 August 2012). "Scientology Drug Program Narconon's Licensing "Extremely Vulnerable" After Oklahoma Deaths, Says Insider". Village Voice. Retrieved 19 September 2012. "Rick says Stacy was sent to the "withdrawal unit" of the facility that night once it was discovered that she'd used. And it was there that her condition became grave. "There was no doctor there, no nurse on staff. There's nothing like that there," Rick says. "The staff, they're all former patients. The exception are the people who would drive you to the airport, or the security people. My understanding is that everyone there is pretty much a former patient." Rick says he doesn't hold the staff responsible for what happened. "You really can't expect them to be able to diagnose a drug overdose. I'm not upset with them. It's the direction from the top down that has to be illegal." The staff was just overmatched for what was happening, he says. "The drugs that would have saved Stacy's life were either not available or no one there knew how to administer it." Thursday morning, July 19, he heard that she was dead. "She died before 10 am. I heard about it pretty immediately," he says. His own tenure at the facility ended soon after. "I got kicked out because they found out I was going to the police and the media. That's how upside down the place is." Now, he's trying to stay sober on his own, and Rick says he is fearful after going to the authorities. "I have to pause multiple times a day because of Stacy's death. I feel sick about it. They should have saved her," he says. Instead, he fears that he'll suffer retaliation for helping with the investigation. "I'm afraid for my life.""
^"Woman "held against her will" at Narconon Arrowhead". McAlester News-Capital. 21 July 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012. "A young woman says she was held against her will at Narconon Arrowhead and had to be rescued by Pittsburg County Sheriffs officers late Thursday night. ... Ramsey said she wanted out because of the recent death of her roommate at the facility, Stacy Dawn Murphy."
^LeFlore, Jeanne (21 July 2012). "During a planned protest of Narconon Arrowhead, the facility spends $50,000 to work on county road where rally was to take place". McAlester News-Capital. Retrieved 7 September 2012. "The road work took place in June 23 and June 24 during a planned protest by Shirley Gilliam, the mother of Gabriel Graves, a 32-year-old man who was found dead at the facility in October, and Collin Henderson, a former Narconon patient. ... Pittsburg County Commission Chairman Gene Rogers said he was contacted by Smith for help the weekend the protest was scheduled — June 23 and 24th. "He (Gary Smith) called me and said they might be having a problem with the public that weekend and he wanted help policing the area and he asked about doing overlaying (of the road)," Rogers said. Safety, not the protest, was the reason the small section of county road was resurfaced, according to the Narconon director."
^Reynolds, Matt (18 September 2012). "Patient Sues Scientology-Based Clinic". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved 18 September 2012. "SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - A man tried to kill himself at a Scientology-affiliated detox clinic after its "purification rundown" took him off his prescribed medicines in a "quick taper," the man claims in court."
^"Spanish court drops charges against Scientology chief after 14 years", Agence France Presse, 11 April 2002
^"Foreign missionaries deported from Kazakhstan". BBC Monitoring Central Asia. Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency, Almaty, in Russian. 29 July 2008. "Astana, 29 July: The head of the Narconon public foundation, along with several other foreign missionaries, have been deported from Kazakhstan, Kazakh Justice Minister Zagipa Baliyeva has said."
^Muir, Hugh (13 August 2012). "Diary". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 March 2014. "Who else will be sad that the Olympics is over? Well there may well be a post-Games dip among members of L Ron Hubbard's Scientology organisation. For they seemed to be doing good business around Tower Bridge, handing out literature linked to the organisation. The little booklets promised The Truth About Drugs. Neither Scientology nor L Ron are mentioned. Just his Foundation for a Drug-Free World, the web address for which sits on the Scientology website. Everyone was fair game this weekend. Even a passing 15-year-old. That sort of opportunity might not come again."
^DeSio, John (31 May 2007). "The Rundown on Scientology’s Purification Rundown: What Scientologists aren't telling you about their detox program (and how much it’s costing you)". New York Press.