Narconon is a detox and rehabilitation program affiliated with the Church of Scientology. Simply mentioning the word “Scientology” often triggers a response in anyone who’s followed the news over the last 20 years or heard of the Church’s often controversial practices and legal affairs. This article will be no different. Based fundamentally on the philosophy of the Church’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, Narconon’s treatment program employs a mass of highly questionable detoxification and rehabilitation practices that pose serious health risks, both physically and psychologically to the vulnerable and unsuspecting client.
It is important to mention the story of L. Ron Hubbard as the Church espouses highly suspect and mostly fabricated background information in regards to his life, according to sources outside of the Church. Hubbard was first and foremost a writer who penned science fiction and fantasy stories. He attended college for civil engineering, but later dropped out to pursue his writing career. Hubbard lacked all qualifications for being an experienced practitioner in the fields of science, medicine and addiction, having never received a degree of any kind and rejected modern medicine as a whole. He would later develop a self-help system called Dianetics that would later serve as the starting point for the religion of Scientology. In short, Hubbard was a writer and religious leader who was ignorant of science and medicine and had no business developing a drug rehabilitation program; and yet, Narconon has existed for forty years without any outside or objective evidence to support its claims of remarkably high success rates or to validate their bizarre rehabilitation techniques.
Narconon uses a drug-free method of detoxification, forcing the client to experience a highly painful, traumatic and often dangerous withdrawal process. Those suffering from an addiction to alcohol or benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, may in fact die from their detox, a well-known fact that Narconon chooses to overlook. Other addicts are forced to go through their detox “cold turkey”. Narconon only offers what they call a “Purification Rundown,” a process where clients spend several hours in extremely high degree saunas and consume absurdly large doses of vitamins, including Niacin (a form of vitamin B3). The Purification Rundown is not only dangerous, but has no scientific backing whatsoever. Claims that administering niacin will break up fat and that radiation can be sweated out are not only incorrect, but they border on being outright lies . Of course, when Hubbard developed and founded these practices, he also declared that no changes in his teachings or Narconon should ever happen, thus Narconon still rejects new scientific discoveries while adhering to outdated and flawed science.
The idea is that through this cleansing ritual, the “bad stuff” will be sweated out and the addict will no longer suffer from cravings. Again, there is no evidence to support this claim, but Narconon doesn’t seem to care for proper scientific evidence.
Another part of the detoxification and rehabilitation process is based on Narconon’s attitude towards psychiatric medication: that they are unnecessary and that mental disorders are “spiritual problems.” These “spiritual problems” can only be treated through the indoctrination process that follows shortly after the detox where clients are sold Scientology under the guise of rehabilitation and treatment. Their drug-free detox and rehabilitation process is not only horribly misguided and ignorant of real medical science, but just as unethical as it is dangerous. Narconon is one of the Church’s main sources of revenue and the perfect front for sick and vulnerable people to be lured in and recruited through Scientology and its adherents.
Recently, a client at an Oklahoma Narconon center in Canadian, OK was found dead, sparking an investigation by local police and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The client, Stacy Murphy, was reportedly “acting peculiar” and tested “positive for opiates”  following a drug test. Whether or not Murphy died from an overdose is unclear as a toxicology report has yet to be completed. Regardless, Narconon staff was fully aware that Murphy had drugs in her system and was left unmonitored. In short, Murphy died due to “gross negligence” . Conveniently for Narconon, clients are required to sign a “Release of Liability, Indemnity Agreement and Contract” which relieves Narconon of “any actual or potential legal claim of any sort under any circumstances and in perpetuity” . Code of Federal Regulations and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act prevent Narconon from sharing any information about clients. So not only does Narconon assume zero responsibility in the tragic and easily avoidable death of Murphy, they are legally not allowed to speak about her either. How convenient for a treatment center that incorporates a dangerous and highly flawed detox and treatment plan that ultimately serves as a front for a Scientology recruiting center.
Given the glaring obviousness of Narconon’s twisted methodology, it is safe to say that it has no place in the world of treatment. However, there could very well be a reasonable number of people who have gone through the Narconon program and conquered their addictions. Without sufficient data from independent sources and Narconon’s sources being inherently biased, it is impossible to gauge the program’s effectiveness, but it does raise the question: what methods of treatment do work and on what scale? There are many forms of treatment that exist around the world and likely many more stories of people recovering and leading healthy, happy lives.
 Schaffer, Amanda. “Poisons, Begone!” Slate. The Slate Group, 21 Oct. 2004. Web. 23 July 2012.
 Stogsdill, Sheila. “Deaths Bring Probe of Narconon Facility In Oklahoma” Tulsa World. World Publishing Co., 24 July 2012. Web. 25 July 2012.
 “Is Narconon Safe?” Narconon Exposed. Chris Owen, n.d. Web. 25 July 2012.
By Cameron C.
Filed under: Celebrity · Tags: Addiction, addicts, adherents, Alcohol and Drugs, antidepressants, beliefs, church, church of scientology, detox, detox program, detoxification, drug free, drug-free detox, forms of treatment, Hubbard, L. Ron Hubbard, medicine, mental health, mental illness, narconon, practitioner, program, psych meds, psychiatric medication, purification, Purification Rundown, questionable, recovering, Recovery, recovery program, rehab, rehabilitation, rundown, science, scientology, therapy, Treatment, trigger, Triggers, xanax