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The Truth About Narconon


Narconon is a controversial drug treatment program which claims a presence in 45 countries.[1]This “treatment” program is closely tied with the Church of Scientology and its ideals. The initial program utilized for addicts entering treatment at Narconon is a drug-free withdrawal. This assesses physical drug addiction without the use of medication. Addicts are simply provided with high doses of vitamins and “assists”, which is a spiritual healing method. The withdrawal process also uses long sauna sessions as a detoxification practice.[2] This method of detoxification has absolutely no scientific backing and has the potential to be extremely dangerous.[3] Alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal may invoke death upon abrupt discontinuation of use and Narconon does not acknowledge this fact. Withdrawal from opiates is an extremely uncomfortable process where the addict is particularly vulnerable to relapse and a “cold turkey” approach is never recommended by doctors.

Narconon blatantly misrepresents the success rate of its program. It claims a success rate between 70 to 85 percent.[4] However, this is unsubstantiated or from extremely questionable studies. The research papers that Narconon provides concerning their program are actually focused on the detoxification process, not the program itself. In addition, these papers are written by completely biased sources, either Scientologists or Narconon employees.[5] The fact that Narconon cannot provide any legitimate evidence concerning the benefits of their program further attests its complete incompetence in the field of drug treatment.

The teachings at Narconon are derived from Scientology, or more specifically, the teachings of supposed doctor L. Ron Hubbard. Despite the name of the religion he created, Hubbard had very little scientific education. He falsified a degree so he could call himself a doctor but in reality he had minimal medical knowledge.[6] Hubbard made many false medical claims, denounced conventional medicine, and even sold phony medications that he claimed would cure cancer.[7] Narconon still runs based on the false ideas that he embraced. Hubbard clearly expressed that no amendments or changes in his teachings should ever take place and Narconon has stood by his request.[8] This means that as advancements and discoveries concerning medicine take place, Narconon ignores them and stubbornly adheres to dated or unproven “science”.

Narconon states publicly that high doses of niacin are administered to its patients because niacin breaks up fat and rids the body of drug metabolites.[9] This is nothing more than folklore that has been proven completely false by numerous studies.[10] Narconon also preaches that radiation is sweated out of the body through the long sauna sessions patients undergo.[11] Radiation cannot be sweated out of the body under any circumstance.[12] The fact that this program is built around so many false claims and blatant lies makes it downright mind blowing that it continues to stay afloat.

Not only is Narconon’s drug-free withdrawal process unsafe and unpractical, its regiment of vitamins are at levels considered by the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) as overdoses.[13] Some of the vitamins are administered at amounts that are 142 times greater than the toxic levels.[14] Hubbard set these dosages about forty years ago and Narconon refuses to consider new medical evidence or recalibrate any dosages.[15] The side effects of these large doses may cause liver damage, hair loss, brain swelling and even a fatal heart or respiratory failure.[16] Not only are these doses dangerous, the idea that drug addiction is primarily rooted in a vitamin deficiency is completely ridiculous and has no medical foundation.

Sauna sessions are the other detoxification method endorsed and employed by Narconon. The periods of time that patients are required to bake in these saunas far exceed the amount deemed safe by physicians. Fifteen to thirty minutes is the recommended time limit to withstand these extreme temperatures, however, Narconon patients endure up to five hours of these levels. This could easily cause hyperthermia, heat exhaustion, salt or potassium depletion, heat stroke and breathing difficulties, which could be particularly problematic for those suffering from asthma.[17] The flawed logic behind this practice is that by purging the body of drug metabolites, the addict will be free from cravings.[18] Once again, this is simply a farfetched theory that has no scientific backing. The drug metabolites are non-psychoactive and the actual mind altering chemical is excreted relatively quickly even without a detox plan. In addition, doctors consider sweating to be only a relatively minor method of the body’s excretion of toxins.[19]

Narconons drug-free approach to withdrawal also applies to its treatment of psychiatric disorders.[20] The program does not believe in any psychiatric medications and this can lead to underlying disorders fueling addiction to never be fully addressed. Patients with mental disorders deserve every avenue to treat their issues and Narconon withholding this acceptable treatment is arrogant and irresponsible. These mental disorders are considered spiritual problems by Narconon and those entering its treatment centers are immediately deprived of their psychiatric medications.[21] The shaming of psychiatric disorders as “spiritual problems” and the sudden removal of medications that require a taper can cause serious damage to the patient’s mental and physical health.

Narconon vehemently denies that its program is a religious one, however, all evidence proves otherwise.[22] Virtually every stage and teaching of Narconon has a direct Scientology equivalent, only a few words are changed to distinguish the two from one another.[23] It can therefore be concluded that Narconon is not only derived from Scientology, it is Scientology. The majority of Narconon’s staff and executives are practicing Scientologists.[24] Furthermore, Narconon is controlled by The Association for Better Living and Education or ABLE, which is a key supporter and ally with the Church of Scientology.[25]

Narconon’s “drug treatment” is simply a front for a radical religion in their efforts to recruit new members to their rigid belief system. It is  ineffective and detrimental to the addict who wishes to change their life. The fact that it still pulls an income and is so widespread is appalling and unsettling to anyone with any knowledge of addiction treatment. Narconon should be exposed and prosecuted for its dangerous treatment program which jeopardizes the lives of those in an extremely vulnerable situation.

[1] Narconon.org

[2] http://www.narcononquebec.ca/program.html

[3] Prof. Folke Sjokvist, “Expert advice on Narconon given to the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare”, 26 November 1996

[4] http://www.narconon.org/about-narconon/results.html

[5] http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Narconon/papers.htm

[6] http://www.xenu.net/archive/books/bfm/bfm12.htm page 212

[7] (L. Ron Hubbard, A History Of Man)

[8] (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Narconon/badscience.htm)

[9] (http://www.officialwire.com/main.php?action=posted_news&rid=194191 September 8, 2011 Rigo Ubillos OfficialWire)

[10] ( http://www.livestrong.com/article/116396-niacin-detox-body/ May 4, 2010 Dana George)


[12] ["Rehabilitation of a Chernobyl Affected Population Using a Detoxification Method", A.F. Tsyb, E.M. Parshkov, J. Barnes, V.V. Yarzutkin, N.V. Vorontsov, V.I. Dedov - <http://www.detoxacademy.org/pdfs/epa_radiation_conf.pdf>]


[14] (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Narconon/detox.htm )

[15] (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Narconon/science.htm )

[16] (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Narconon/detox.htm)

[17] (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Narconon/detox.htm

[18] (http://www.narconon.ca/narconon_program_steps.htm )

[19] (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Narconon/sources/reports/sjoqvist.htm Expert Advice on Narconon Given to the Swedish National Board on Health and Welfare by Prof. Folke Sjoqvist)

[20] ( http://www.narconon.ca/psychiatrics_drugs2.htm)

[21] (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Narconon/sources/reports/91report.htm)

[22] (http://www.narcononcolorado.org/faq.html

[23] (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Narconon/doctrines.htm)

[24] .(http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Narconon/personnel.htm)

[25] (http://www.able.org/programs/narconon/)

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Filed under: Addiction, Recovery, Treatment · Tags: addiction rehab, Addiction Treatment, addiction treatment center, alchohol rehab, drug addict, drug addiction, drug rehab, drug treatment center, drug treatment program, narconon, narconon addiction center, narconon controversy, narconon scientology, scientologiest, scientology, scientology controversy

  • Bkeats

    This Guy has no idea what he is talking about. I have done the program and it has helped me save my life. It has nothing to do with religion. I’m an Irish Catholic. And I go to church every Sunday. Because of this program I don’t have to rely on others to fix my problems I can do it for myself. I don’t know wear he got his info from but its all bullshit.