Guest Column: Exploring the relationship of Narconon and Scientology

In searching your online edition for drug-related articles, I noticed that a number of them are “press releases” from the Scientology organization.

These articles are a good example of how Narconon combines scientific, medical fact, blended with founder L. Ron Hubbard’s fanciful theories on drug abuse. The “press releases” you’re picking up are released on several newswires by Scientology’s Public Relations office. Of course, they hope that mainstream publications will print them. The main use of these pieces is within Scientology’s internal publications. By quoting their own releases, it gives the membership a sense that Narconon is highly regarded by the outside world in general.

This combination of fact and fiction serves to promote the Narconon program.

The facts about heroin addiction in this story are probably verifiable.

Heroin was first developed by Bayer, who produced a cough syrup called “Heroin.” The bottles are collectibles.

Many people segue to heroin use from methamphetamine use. Heroin will allow a meth user to “come down” after a long binge of being awake for days.

Narconon’s Web site has many “informative” pages focusing on different drugs that are abused. This information is not a result of their own research. They use this information to promote their own program, attempting to achieve legitimacy in the drug rehab field. However, this legitimacy is spurious. Narconon’s representatives try to distance the program from Scientology by stating that it isn’t Scientology, just “based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard.” This is Lie No. 1.

This is explored in a couple of excellent, well-researched and documented websites, and

The relationship of Narconon to Scientology is explored here:

Not only is Narconon’s program identical to the courses purchased by public Scientologists, their position in Scientology’s corporate structure shows that they are, in fact, part of the Scientology corporation.

In 2005, the Narconon educational outreach program was reviewed by California. As a result, the program was expelled from California public schools as being inaccurate, misleading and unscientific theory. Hawaii and Boston followed suit. Narconon is no longer permitted to present its theories to public school children.

A series of articles about the issue was written by Nanette Asimov for the San Francisco Chronicle. These articles can be read here:

While the Narconon theory has been debunked, the physical application of these theories continues within Narconon facilities. The Purification Rundown has been described by medical reviewers as being potentially dangerous to the health of clients, due to the excessive use of saunas and administration of toxic vitamin doses. Niacin, in particular, can cause blindness as well as permanent liver damage. Why Narconon is permitted to continue administering this dangerous quackery is a mystery. The FDA should shut them down.

When challenged, Narconon representatives claim it is a protected “religious” ritual. However, when selling the program to communities, they claim it is a secular program. This secularity surely makes them vulnerable to FDA scrutiny. Yet, for some reason, they manage to gain support at high levels of government. Politicians who support this program have been shown to benefit from campaign contributions from individual Scientologists. They also have failed to do any research on their own, preferring to depend upon the glossy promotional brochures put out by Narconon itself.

Anyone considering Narconon as a treatment option would do well to research it himself. Narconon treatment at best is fraudulent fantasy created by a science fiction writer and college dropout. At worst, it is a dangerous quack remedy for a very real societal problem.

Scientology draws much of its factual information about drugs from free informational pamphlets put out by the U.S. government. Your paper would be doing the public a better service by relying upon these publications, rather than inadvertently promoting Scientology’s dangerous and inaccurate program via spurious “press releases.”

Barbara Graham is a free-lance writer who has studied Scientology from a critical point of view since 1999.

From the March 22-28, 2006, issue

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