The purpose of this op-ed is to dispel some of the false perceptions about Narconon and the Church of Scientology that have appeared in the press recently and to provide readers with access to the facts.

Anyone who has had personal, firsthand experience with drug addiction, whether as a family member of an addict, a counselor or a rehab worker, understands that drug rehabilitation is a hazardous field. Anyone who is addicted to drugs is on the path of self-destruction. Drug addicts usually suffer quite horribly with a number of negative health and life-altering issues, including divorces, losing families and jobs due to drug addiction. There is no denying that there is an urgent need for active participation in combating this most extreme of societal ills by anyone and everyone with the skills and the willingness to do so.

Since 1966, the Narconon program has helped tens of thousands of people to lead drug-free lives in countries all over the world. It is based on the writings, procedures and techniques of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Scientology religion. Hubbard conducted extensive research into drug abuse during the 1960s and ’70s when recreational drug use had reached epidemic proportions. He developed techniques to overcome the effects of virtually every type of drug. Wanting to help those thought lost to addiction, Hubbard made his discoveries broadly available. The result was the establishment of Narconon.

Narconon is a network of nonprofit, nonreligious drug rehabilitation programs active worldwide. It utilizes Hubbard’s unique components of withdrawal, detoxification and life skills to address the debilitating effects of drugs on the mind and body, but also to resolve why a person turned to drugs in the first place. The program is backed by more than 40 years of reviews, studies and acceptance as to its safety, effectiveness and methodology. Narconon’s sole purpose is to assist its program participants to overcome and handle addictions to drugs and alcohol.

The Church of Scientology and Scientologists are proud to help support the Narconon program as part of our social and humanitarian mission. Scientology churches and their parishioners have provided assistance to Narconons since their inception. Narconon is one of the most successful drug-rehabilitation programs in the world, and a vital player in helping those with addiction problems.

Nevertheless, Narconon is not part of the Church of Scientology, and one does not have to become a member of the religion to do the program. Narconon is open to members of any faith and only works to get people off drugs. If you go to Narconon’s website at, you can watch many graduates talk about how their lives have turned around after doing the Narconon program.

The Church of Scientology is a newer religion and perhaps not as well-known. Scientology deals with man as a spiritual being. Part of the religious philosophy of Scientology is that one cannot survive on his or her own. Scientologists have a religious commitment to helping take responsibility for their fellow man, families and the environment. The Church of Scientology and individual Scientologists are active in humanitarian initiatives and social betterment activities in the fields of drug-abuse prevention, human rights, education, criminal reform and disaster relief. I would suggest starting at the church’s website at

The problem of drug addiction affects everyone — and everyone in the community needs to be part of the solution. There is a desperate need for more drug rehabilitation options in Maryland. There is room for non-drug replacement programs for those who qualify for this type of treatment and addicts and their families should have the option to choose which program would work best for them.

It is our lasting hope to work with the community to help with the drug problem and help those addicts and families who seek a quiet, restful place to escape from the trap of drug addiction.

I ask those who are concerned about Scientology or Narconon to look beyond the scare tactics and misleading Internet sites, which do a disservice to the families who need help, and instead contact us directly to discuss their concerns, so we can provide them documentation and information so they can be fully informed.

Sylvia Stanard

is deputy director of the Church of Scientology’s National Affairs Office. She writes from Washington.

(29) comments


As a health care provider for the past 25 years, I have witnessed the devastating effects of drugs on patients, their families and the society at large.
There is an epidemic of drug use both of street drugs and pharmaceutical drugs.
This is one of the best rehab programs available in the United States and the success rate is very high.
Unlike many other programs that use one drug to get a person off another drug, this program uses safe and tested methods of helping people to return to a normal life.
It is puzzling to see that our community is fighting an organization which its goal is enhancement and betterment of individuals.


I suppose people are afraid that addicts who use the program will be forced into Scientology. That could be true I don't know, but if Scientologists are asserting it isn't true maybe we should take them at their word. I'm thinking perhaps my nephew could benefit from their program as he's been through countless other rehab programs only to go back on drugs each time. If Narconon could help him, I wouldn't care what religion sponsored it, and even if he become a Scientologist as a result that would be better than his "life" is now.


Despite all the rants in these comments based solely on bias and no personal inspection or experience, Narconon is the most successful drug rehab program in existence. They have only one goal, to salvage people from the ruin and death of drug addiction. To see the truth, you have to actually care about this goal. Narconon is dedicated to it and Frederick would benefit greatly from their presence.

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If you go to their website and watch some of their information videos, you can clearly see they really don't say much beyond generalities most people can agree with. It's definitely a sales pitch designed to lure people in. I would hope that the religion does help people and give people meaning in their lives, but it does seem rather sketchy to me.

Comment deleted.

SO, who is Mark Long and what difference does he make in this discussion when he can describe his life experience through speculation, red herrings and deliberate distractions based on facts he has yet to provide to this audience.

Isn't kinberlymellon just repeating herself with the same past remarks and using Mr Long as yet another puppet to make her point based on the same wording and ramifications she has developed over the years and her specific prejudice against a religion other than her own and a medical rehabilitation center that she continues to put on trial that can't make it up to or beyond heresay?

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[thumbup] Thank you for posting this.

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My first guess is word count.


I don't really care what Narconon does or what Scientology thinks. And there is enough on the web to doubt this LTE. It goes back to their "Acceptable Truth".


If the Church of Scientology is all about helping people they should donate funds to other Drug Rehab programs with no strings attached,Ya Think?


Good point.


Many religions operate charities or progams that help all people and don't expect or try to force conversion to their religions. I like many am suspicious of Scientology itself, but if their drug rehab program actually works than I'm all for it.


Their rehab methods are every bit as hokey as the sci-fi based religion.


Likely, but if they got my nephew off heroin for good I'd be grateful.


"Hubbard conducted extensive research into drug abuse during the 1960s and ’70s when recreational drug use had reached epidemic proportions. He developed techniques to overcome the effects of virtually every type of drug. "

Personally I would love to see his research log book. What experiments did he conduct? How did he run his trials and how many did he run? What were the key components of success and what were the failures?


Yes, I was wondering if there are articles in peer-reviewed journals.


Ron Hubbard was an early science fiction writer that wrote so fast that he had one typewriter key for the word "the." Magazines paid a few cents a word and that was a money maker. His science was the biofeedback of the 30's and 40's and it was useful, but (n my opinion) needed work.

I would be more comfortable with science based on genetic differences and even stem cell research. Individual treatment might offer more opportunity to more patients. Any new treatment center ought to have peer approval and a track record of proven success.


What does this observation of yours have to do with the treatment of alcohol and drug abuse? Even hear of Utilization and Quality Assurance oversite in the health care community? Have you investigated what the Veterans Affairs accomplished over decades of neglect to their patients and the problems that still exist TODAY Nationwide? What part of reality have you misplaced in your cherry-picked observations of the world wide health care community which allows Narconon to provide addiction recovery on an international basis and treatment protocols?

Shall we take a look at the health community in total, including those that have described medical malpractice in all areas of the medical community throughout recorded history.

Has the National Inquirer and the trade magazine world now become your version of peer review assessments of health care delivered by Narconon.

I'm not advocating for or against Narconon or the Church of Scientology. But I do know something of hatchet jobs, smear campaigns, supposition, speculation, and lying by OMMISSION that the likes of yourself and others in this rural community have adopted out of fear of the unknown and in some cases their own shadows.

If you want to talk AT heroin addiction running rampant throughout the Frederick Region and what you are most comfortable with and the REAL REASONS underlying your protest remarks against an organization assigned to rehabilitation of the addicted we have in this community.

Apparently what we currently have on hand in Maryland has proven to be underfunded by your tax dollars, over-whelmed by addiction traffic, and ill-equipted to handle the rising numbers of those addicted and dying by overdose.

Rick Blanchard (below) would serve as an excellent example of dodging the real issues of addiction and using excuses and distractions of developmental property rights under the guise of rules, regs and zoning manipulations to sustain his distain for medical intervention he knows nothing about other than by speculation, guesswork, distorted RUMORS and a faith based mentality that doesn't cure anyone of alcohol or drug addictions. If he were serious about putting "Scientology aside for the moment" why is it he can't bring himself to INCLUDE Narconon in this discussion of drug rehabilitation? SO, Rick, aren't you confining your thoughts to what you think of the Church of Scientolgy? Isn't the subcontext of your remarks centered on your obvious paranoia of religious convictions, not your own, and having nothing to do with addictions you prefer the rest of US to put at arms length from a subject that's eating up our core values from within and the decay that comes without maintenace and has been for decades?

I chose we get all the help we can to battle this epidemic, whether the "town folk" want to do anything about it or not. What do we have to lose?

Rick Blatchford

Let's leave Scientology aside for a moment. How about finding a place to operate without the necessity of changing rules, regs or zoning. Starting the game by making it an exception from the beginning will always create a negative image. Sylvia, find a place where the zoning and regs are appropriate.[wink][wink]


what load of crap Sylvia..

It is based on the writings, procedures and techniques of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Scientology religion. Hubbard conducted extensive research into drug abuse during the 1960s and ’70s when recreational drug use had reached epidemic proportions. He developed techniques to overcome the effects of virtually every type of drug. Wanting to help those thought lost to addiction, Hubbard made his discoveries broadly available. The result was the establishment of Narconon.

Here is the truth about L Ron Hubbard and Narconon.

Hubbard, who co-founded Narconon in 1966, had no medical qualifications and was ignorant of basic medical facts. Despite advances in research on treatment of alcoholism and substance abuse, the Narconon program remains unchanged. Narconon uses unproven techniques and potentially dangerous levels of vitamins far beyond those considered safe by the FDA. For instance, Narconon prescribes niacin in dosages reaching 5,000 mgs to their clients. The daily recommended intake by the FDA is 20 milligrams. When doses this high are given, serious side effects can occur. These side effects include liver problems, gout, stomach ulcers, loss of vision, high blood sugar, irregular heart rate and other problems. These side effects are particularly concerning for patients who may be more vulnerable to liver damage as a result of alcoholism or drug addiction.

Learn more about L. Ron Hubbard's lack of qualifications here:

There is a list of Narconon's unsafe practices, including a list of the vitamins and minerals used in the program, here:

The Food and Drug Administration's Recommended Daily Values can be found here:

about this: Nevertheless, "Narconon is not part of the Church of Scientology, and one does not have to become a member of the religion to do the program. Narconon is open to members of any faith and only works to get people off drugs. If you go to Narconon’s website at, you can watch many graduates talk about how their lives have turned around after doing the Narconon program."

Sylvia you forgot to mention this:

Narconon has been receiving some bad press lately. Most recently, there have been news stories about 3 deaths within a 7 month period at Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma: on the forum, read Narconon Oklahoma Multiple Deaths, and the death of Patrick W. Desmond at Narconon of Georgia: on the forum, read The Desmond Family v. Narconon of Georgia, Narconon International, et al.

Court filings from the Patrick Desmond case can be viewed and downloaded here: Desmond v. Narconon.

Unfortunately, those are not the only deaths. Deaths have occured throughout Narconon's history. There is an incomplete list in the thread Narconon Deaths.

You would think that, if something as serious as death continues to occur with a particular rehab method, the methods should be changed to incorporate safer and more modern practices. Narconon does not do this, but instead has the attitude that their program is authoritative, and if problems occur, the problem is with the client, not with Narconon. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Also Tony Ortega writes a fascinating and fantastic blog on Scientology


There is very strong evidence that Narconon is in fact inseparable from Scientology. When one examines the facts in detail, it becomes apparent that there are very close links between the Church of Scientology and that Narconon itself is, in effect, virtually undiluted Scientology. The connections fall into three distinct categories:

Doctrines (similarities between Narconon and Scientology doctrines)

Organisations (links and similarities between the Narconon organisation and the Church of Scientology)

Personnel (the manning of Narconon by Scientologists).


The Church of Scientology is insidious.

Scientology is not just a misunderstood new religion.

Scientology is not just a self-help group.

Scientology is not just a wacky cult that Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and other Hollywood celebrities belong to.

Scientology wants you too, and will go to any length to get you, because you are just one big walking dollar sign.,scientology.html

Narconon’s ties to Scientology are not disclosed or readily available to its clients who are making a decision on treatment for drug addiction at a vulnerable time in their lives. Additionally, Narconon’s doctrines and organization are nearly identical to Scientology’s.

Narconon has an aggressive web presence and registers web sites with misleading names, which are presented as objective reviews of drug rehab centers but are actually used as advertisements for Narconon.

When many people hear the name "Narconon," they think it is another name for Narcotics Anonymous. It isn't.

The Narcotics Anonymous (NA) website clearly shows that NA does not charge for services, does not provide residential facilities or clinics, does not provide vocational, legal, financial, psychiatric, or medical services, and is not affiliated with other organizations. Facts about NA can be found here:

The Narcotics Anonymous (NA) website uses factual and informative language:, and most of their publications are available for free:

Narconon, on the other hand, uses a highly structured, one-size-fits-all program, which parallels the training sold to members of Scientology:

The Narconon website uses emotionally charged, marketing-style language:

No publications are available for free:
Find out more about the relationship between Narconon and Scientology here:


Why not put Narconon on the same level you protest from and the Veterans Administration and all the lives lost to INTENTIONAL neglect, hold them BOTH up to the light, and tell me if they are any different than the other in your assessment of the medical health care community?

Don't mind the bone you want to pick with Narconon or the Church of Scientology under terms of your own self made prejudice. Instead of attempting to put words in our mouth, why not include the other side of what you claim to know but really don't? Isn't that the SAME makings and strategic manipulation of what YOU claim Scientology and Narconon are all about, from a hometown point of view?

Please feel free to lie to yourself, and me, under the terms of free speech, while lying to everyone else who passes by.

Didn't we burn enough alledged witches at the stake for generations of what we called Christianity looking for evil that didn't exist in the first place. Have we evolved since then, or just doing the same thing we did then, as we are doing NOW through internet information we SELECT to make the same point you are trying to make now? What is it about being a foregone conclusion YOU don't understand?


Narconon is Scientology's evil Step-child.


Looks like a high priced recruiting parlor for their "church" to get a few 1%'ers signed up.
It would be interesting to see all the papers they require you to sign before admitting you.


No one wants to come forward and say, "we've tried other things and our family needs this." So the voices that represent other fears dominate.
"Just say no" was a well-intended mantra that is imbedded in the culture now and re-worked different ways. Preventing a type of rehab from establishing itself will definitely stop addicts from experiencing its risks. It will, however, maintain the status quo of the deadly risk they are to themselves. This risk does not seem real to a lot of people. Protesting Narconan seems like an active, involved way to do nothing that helps the endangered. What is the rest of the plan?


Narconan, like Dianetics or Scientology, is an evil group that takes advantage of vulnerable people. The only reason Scientology is recognized as a religion by the IRS is because they made a deal that they would drop their 100s of lawsuits against the IRS if it capitulated. It is obviously a scam and anyone who starts to have success standing up against them is harassed by private investigators hired by the church. It would be lovely to have a legit rehab center open in Frederick, but Narconan is not legit.


How far can you STRETCH hypothetical reasoning? Do you own a crystal ball that predicts the future or provides insight to the past and present WE know nothing about? In your estimation, what constitutes "LEGITIMATE" in a world of words often used to by interest looking for market share in yet another LIE?


Sorry if i was not clear. What I meant is they are con men who steal money from vulnerable people. it is a common thing. Just google them and you will see. No need for a crystal ball.

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