Report: Scientology Back In California Schools Teaching “Narconon” Anti-Drug Theories

Narconon_logo488px-scientology_symbolsvgThe San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that, after once being banned from classrooms, Scientology is back in California classroom spreading its controversial theories on drug use. The program is run by Narconon, an organization that was created by the Church and founded on the theories of L. Ron Hubbard. Narconon offers the lessons for free, but experts say that the theories are not only unfounded but directly connected to the religious organization that some accused of being a cult or criminal enterprise. Scientology has long objected to what it views as discrimination directed against it while ignoring mainstream religions. It also insists that Narconon is a successful and independent and secular organization.

In 2005, medical and educational experts studies the Narconon material and sessions and concluded that they were not based on actual science but unfounded and wrong concepts founded in Hubbard’s teachings. Those findings led to the removal of Narconon from the schools, but now a decade later Scientology has found its way back into classrooms — offering its materials and instruction for free to school officials. Many teachers who are trained by Narconon were not aware that they were in a Scientology offshoot.

Scientology insists that its materials have been rewritten and that there is separation between Scientology church affairs and the work of Narconon.

Hubbard, a former Science Fiction writer, created the futuristic theories of Scientology and its aggressive (and controversial) recruitment system. The Church opposes drugs and alcohol, which the Church says are impediments to achieving a state of mental purity called “Clear.”

Narconon’s lessons include such debunked theories that drugs reside in body fat for years and can cause people to feel high during times of stress. It also teaches that drugs burn up vitamins and nutrients, resulting in pain and relapse. It claims that the “munchies” resulting from marijuana use is due to a loss of vitamins and nutrients. All of these theories by Hubbard have been ridiculed by experts as ridiculous. (By the way, there is an excellent science piece in the Smithsonian on the real reason for munchies here).

After the study in 2005, Jack O’Connell, then the state superintendent of public instruction, sent out a letter on Feb. 24, 2005 that warned “Narconon’s drug prevention program does not reflect accurate, widely-accepted medical and scientific evidence.” However, the department does not have the authority to ban such programs, a decision which must be made by school districts. Some did so, however, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, which concluded their own expert reviews of the materials and theories.

However, the Chronicle found Narconon workings in other school districts including thirteen in the bay area alone, including Fremont, Los Altos, Morgan Hill, San Jose, San Ramon, Santa Clara and Santa Rosa.

220px-L._Ron_Hubbard_in_1950The newspaper found copyrighted material being distributed in schools that directly incorporate religious Scientology concepts like “tone scale,” a Scientology doctrine dealing with emotions. It is a concept created by Hubbard who encouraged his followers to “just draw a horizontal line on the page. Put the people who are less alive on the bottom and the people who are more alive on the top.” The theory is explained in Hubbard’s 1951 book Science of Survival that a “tone” has many manifestations including appearance, chronic emotion, the way the person handles other people, how well the person can pass on a communication given to them, and other characteristics.

Scientologist and President of Narconon International Clark Carr has publicly claimed that “[i]n the last couple of years, the number of youth who heard the anti-drug message have increased from 11,000 to 22,000” and says that “Narconon has been responding to increasing demand from schools in Northern California.” He adds that “Narconon provides this program as a public service at no charge, funded entirely by Narconon centers.”

In fairness to Scientology, there is often little objection to other churches being incorporated into government programs. President Obama fulfilled his pledge to not only continue President Bush’s faith-based programs but to expand them. For those who believe in strict separation of church and state, this line has long been blurred by those who want to see public money go to religious institution for vouchers and educational programs. What is interesting about this controversy however is that the underlying theories have been debunked by experts. However, the free program clearly appeals to cash-strapped school districts.

Source: SFGate

137 thoughts on “Report: Scientology Back In California Schools Teaching “Narconon” Anti-Drug Theories”

  1. Mespo, Thanks for your wisdom. I often fall short, but we are all works in progress, to varying degrees.

  2. From Tony Ortega at the Underground Bunker:

    “Scientology’s drug rehab system hit with tenth federal fraud lawsuit by Las Vegas attorney”

    “Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton has filed his tenth federal fraud lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon. Filed in Nevada, the lawsuit alleges that the Scientology rehab center in that state, Rainbow Canyon Retreat, promised effective drug counseling delivered by licensed medical personnel, and instead delivered Scientology training from former addicts.”

    “On August 30, 2012, Charis Yates and Dean Pugh were looking for a drug rehab facility for their daughter Beret. They were told the usual story by representatives of “Fresh Start” — what some Narconon facilities are calling themselves now. They were told about Fresh Start’s 76-percent success rate, that their daughter would receive “extensive substance abuse treatment,” and that a sauna program would flush drug toxins from her body, reducing or eliminating her drug cravings.

    And, like so many others, the couple was told that their daughter would be under the supervision of medical professionals.

    They paid $33,000 for Beret’s treatment.

    Hamilton accuses Narconon of hiding its connections to Scientology in the contract it asked the couple to sign. In fact, the Narconon program isn’t drug counseling at all, but instead it’s low-level Scientology training with no scientific basis.”

  3. Deaths at Scientology drug treatment program Narconon bring investigation
    By Joe Childs and Thomas C. Tobin, Times Staff Writers
    August 15, 2012

    Already shaken by a series of high-level defections, accounts of abuse among its staffers, and the high-profile breakup of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, the Church of Scientology now faces scrutiny over its controversial drug treatment program, Narconon.

    Four deaths at Narconon’s signature treatment facility in eastern Oklahoma have prompted local law enforcement and health officials to investigate the center and its program.

    The inquiry began after Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, was found dead in her room on July 19 after returning to the facility from a one-day leave. The cause of death is under investigation.

    Two other clients died within the previous nine months. Another died in 2009. In two of those cases, serious health issues were cited; the cause of the other death is unclear.

    In April, authorities in Quebec shut down a Narconon facility in the city of Trois Rivieres, saying certain treatment procedures “may represent a health risk.”

    Church of Scientology public affairs director Karin Pouw said there is no suggestion the two investigations “have anything to do with Narconon’s methods of drug rehabilitation.”

    She said media have misrepresented facts about the Oklahoma investigation, but offered no specifics.

    As for recent incidents that generated unfavorable publicity for Scientology, Pouw said: “There is no relationship to any of these things, other than the continued growth of the Church and its social and humanitarian programs.”

    Narconon centers claim success rates of 75 to 90 percent. But their methods, developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, have drawn fire over the years. They include high doses of niacin and lengthy sauna sessions that are said to release stored drug residues from fat tissue — a Hubbard theory contested by many health professionals.

  4. A Modest Proposal:

    How about we all let Professor Turley police the blog and quit running to tattle every time our tender sensibilities are hurt? If someone offends your dignity don’t offer a validation of it with a reply. If you feel you must use ridicule, pithy beats mean-spirited every time. Finally, let’s try be good nurtured about the back and forth. You can sting without malice and rebut without derision. It’s darn tough sometimes, but it’s possible. We’re not going to change many minds in a paragraph but hopefully your personal decency in advocating a position will cause the opponent to say, “Well, he’s not all bad. Maybe he has a point.” It’s sort of a testimonial to your character and intellect.

    Third parties respond better to enlightened dialog than insult streams and if that’s the goal — to make open-minded others see it your way — then fact-laden dialog the best path. If your goal is ego inflation … well… there is very little to help that short of therapy.

    ~ A recovering venom spewer.

    1. mespo – I will feel better about your plea when you have some recovery time under your belt. 🙂

  5. State shuts down Narconon drug rehab after Ch. 2 investigation exposed alleged fraud
    By Jodie Fleischer


    Narconon of Georgia announced it will close its doors and cease operating as part of an agreement to avoid criminal prosecution.

    Attorneys for the embattled program had been fighting state revocation of the facility’s license, and were scheduled for a hearing next week. Today they withdrew that appeal.

    “I’m happy. I’m happy that it’s no longer operating,” said Mary Morton, who sent her daughter, Emily, to Narconon for treatment in 2012.

    The Mortons paid in full for Emily’s treatment, then months later noticed Narconon also billed their insurance company more than $166,000 for the same treatment. Some of the bills noted ‘partial hospitalization’, despite Narconon’s outpatient license.

    Two doctors whose license numbers were on the bills told investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer they never provided drug treatment or therapy, and never authorized Narconon to bill for those services.

    Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner launched a criminal investigation and in April agents raided Narconon’s Norcross headquarters, seizing computers and boxes of paperwork.

    For more than a year, Channel 2 Action News has been investigating the drug treatment program, initially revealing evidence it was operating a residential inpatient facility, even though it was only licensed for outpatient treatment.

    That allegation came to light after patient Patrick Desmond died of a drug overdose while enrolled in the program, following a night of drinking with Narconon staff. Desmond was sentenced to a residential inpatient treatment program by a drug court in Florida and the court administrator said Narconon of Georgia’s director assured her it was a long-term residential facility.

    Morton says she was told the same thing.

    “Somebody has to hold them liable,” said Morton, “They need to change the laws. They need to have better measures of accountability.”

    Morton disagrees with a decision by Georgia’s insurance commissioner and the Gwinnett County District Attorney to end the criminal investigation into the corporation, in exchange for Narconon shutting down.

    “I think that’s ridiculous. I think they should be prosecuted,” said Morton, who like many families, was surprised to learn the program was affiliated with the Church of Scientology.

  6. DavidM, As I said, you get many shots, just having gotten another personal and nasty shot. Dignity will prevail.

  7. DavidM, Thank you very much for your thoughtful and heartfelt comment. I means a lot to me. Blogs are a jungle, w/ people becoming just names, not flesh and blood humans. Blogs are overall a positive, but the dehumanizing is a problem. I choose to put myself out there, as do you. There are others. But, there are many who don’t. The mix of the two is fraught w/ danger. As much as anyone here, I have seen you put yourself out there and be shot @ from many directions. What I see in response is dignity. Unlike many, I remember the commencement speech @ my college graduation. The speaker was the TOUGH but superb speech teacher that everyone receiving a diploma had to go through to graduate. He taught me, and thousands others, how to speak in public. As you probably know, that is the #1 fear. He took that fear away through demanding, TOUGH love. The message of his speech was that we often speak of truth, honor, respect, empathy, sympathy, etc. But, dignity seems to always be way down on the list. It is as important as the others and maybe the most rare. If we put dignity higher up on the list, it will create more dignified people. Well, it’s still down on the list. But, you are the most dignified commenter on this blog

    RTC, As I said on another thread, I understand more about you and the losses you have had to deal w/. People here who despise me, if they are honest, will say that I always express genuine empathy when there is a death. Like everyone, RTC, I have dealt w/ personal losses. But, I also dealt w/ death professionally. Working on cases involving violent deaths of children takes it’s toll. I’m not saying the deaths of adults on cases I worked weren’t tough. But, I have had good friends deal w/ the death of young children. And, every death case of a child I worked tore @ the scar tissue. Death is something that is a bond among all humans. It beings more than sorrow and empathy. It brings perspective and reminds us of the most fundamental truth, tomorrow is promised to no one. For some that’s a negative, living in fear. Trying not to die. For others it’s a positive, living in the moment. I’m the latter. We have had our battles, but I now know you more. You are not just 3 letters. The fact that you put yourself out there, sharing your pain in an attempt to ease someone else’s, told me a lot.

  8. Read this fascinating account of one person’s stay at a Narconon facility:

    An excerpt from the comments section of that article:
    “Their scam now is that they’ve purchased all of the domain names related to treatment and done massive amounts of SEO, so if you Google “drug rehab” “free rehab” or even “best rehab”, the first three pages consist of scientology call centers, where you’ll be berated by a cult member into sending your family member (or yourself) to the sauna…”

  9. Yes of course they want to appear as though they are a safe, legitimate facility. Anyone can put together a nice-looking website and make undocumented claims. I am sure they do have some people who remain drug-free after the program. Traditional programs have a success rate of about 20-30%. However, their claims of an 70-85% success rate are preposterous. Here is a quote from a former employee, taken from the link below:

    “All of my examinations and calculations indicated that the advertised and promoted success rate was far below 70%. In fact it was approximately 46% using Narconon’s own computer data. This 46% success rate represents post graduates only and does not take into account the patients who did not complete the program. It also does not include post graduate staff members who relapsed, which were several in the past two years. When taking the aforesaid into account, the Success Rate falls far below 20%.”

    When calculating their success rate, they leave out people who do not complete the program, and those who relapse. Awesome.

  10. Wow!

    What gives with mespo? He really let cut loose tonight. May it happen again and again and again.

  11. Jonathan,

    Wake up! I’m sure something needs deleting here!

  12. Nick,

    So, let’s see — two claims of obsession in a few hours?

    Get well.

  13. Nick,

    To Annie

    “Then why do you follow me everywhere??? What was your purpose in chiming in if not obsessed? Leave me alone!”

    You do posses some wisdom: “Leave me alone!”

    This is what we all wish against your “musings.”

    1. Peter Saler, you have had comment deleted for violation of our civility rule. Comply with the rule or please find another blog.

      1. I have had to delete a number of additional comments by Peter Saler and one in response by Nick. Again, this comment section is not made available for personal insults or attacks. Please see the civility rule linked above.

  14. wow traveling limey are you a scientologist? unbelievable and if so why is it that you say if its on the internet it must be true? considering all of the defectors so in other words all those people who have left and are speaking everyone of them is lying while scientology is telling the truth?


    david miscavige niece, brother and father have also left but hey if he says it isnt happening then it isnt!!! smh i feel for you. all i can do is pray that like many many many others you one day wake up to the truth that l ron hubbard was the worlds greatest con artist

  15. bluesky is also a phrase for ‘nothing there’ and that is what i see in his vacuous comments. the internet comment is akin to: ‘i saw it on the internet so it must be true!’ i know you won’t let me burst your bubble on this, but it would open up a new world for yourself if you let that happen. narconon is the best; the stats are there and nothing cooked. the betty ford center will give you more media coverage but less results. negative chatter based on hot air only serves to dissuade the addict who is ready for a change. shame on you all.
    while narconon is not scientology, it is based on the works of hubbard. scientology is a religion in the sense of the word that goes back well before he recent 2000 years, defined as the study of wisdom or knowledge, rather than belief or faith. there might be a little of the latter here and there, but hardly enough to mention, especially since one of the old man’s most repeated statements is ‘what is true for you is true for you’. another definition is ‘the study of knowing how to know’. we could all do with more of that, because, without it, anyone can steer us down the wrong garden path, be they politicians, bankers, preachers, or the internet. and if they are misinformed or antisocial personalities, that is exactly what will happen.

    1. I believe Limey is saying that if it is on the internet it is NOT true.

      What I meant by my “internet” comment is that people who wise up and put the con behind them, or who escape and find themselves without a single family members who is allowed to associate with them, no longer suffer in isolation and silence. Thanks to the web, they can now connect with others in the same situation, share their stories, reach out to help expose the cult, help others who have escaped or want to escape, and help prevent people from getting sucked into the abusive crime syndicate known as scientology in the first place.

      Limey, call me all the names and use all the adjectives you want. I don’t mind. There are former Narconon employees lined up to testify in court that they were ordered by Narconon officials to concoct the desired success rate statistics. I’m sorry you have fallen for a con. I truly am. I hope one day you will see the truth. All that Hubbard mumbo-jumbo is just a con he made up on the fly, to generate cash and get attention. There was no scientific process — just Hubbard’s imagination.

  16. Darren’s a great guy and a weekend blogger with the keys to The Vortex of Doom.

  17. The spam filter? That’s where two of mine went. Darren Smith found one of them. I believe he must be an admin. Thanks, Darren, BTW.

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