Narconon Denied Request to Accept Former Patient

By Michael McNutt, Enid Bureau

Daily Oklahoman,
Thursday, January 9, 1992


A drug and alcohol treatment center ordered last month to shut down was denied permission Friday accept a former patient who asked to return to the facility.

State lawyers, meanwhile, argued that a stay requested by Narconon Chilocco New Life Center to remain open should be turned down because it never was licensed by Oklahoma.

Oklahoma County District Judge Leeman Freeman denied a request from Narconon Chilocco to admit the former patient, said to be from New York. Freeman said lawyers for Narconon Chilocco could file a similar request with District Judge John Amick, who is presiding over an Oklahoma County case filed by Narconon Chilocco last year against the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

Harry Woods Jr., Narconon Chilocco's lawyer, said the facility is considering filing the request with Amick.

Mental health board members last month voted to deny certification for Narconon Chilocco's treatment program, saying it was medically unsafe and experimental.

Narconon Chilocco, which has been accepting patients since February 1990, has appealed and asked that a stay be issued allowing the facility, located north of Newkirk, to remain open until a hearing on its appeal could be heard.

Guy Hurst, assistant state attorney general, said Friday that Narconon Chilocco's request for a stay order is inappropriate because the facility never was licensed by the state.

Stays usually are granted to a licensed facility that asks to remain open after a state board suspends its license, he said.

"There's nothing to stay," Hurst said. "They were unlicensed. There was a hearing. They're still unlicensed."

Hurst said he will make the same argument later this month when Freeman presides over a hearing on whether a stay should be issued.

Freeman also is expected to hear Narconon Chilocco's appeal. That hearing is scheduled for May 15.

When board members denied certification, they also prohibited Narconon Chilocco from accepting new patients.

At the time of the board's decision, Narconon Chilocco had 27 patients. Hurst said he was told the facility Friday had 16 patients.

Immediately after the Dec. 13 decision Narconon Chilocco officials started a petition drive seeking signatures in support of the center. A Newkirk area resident, meanwhile, has started his own petition drive, seeking signatures of those who support the board's decision. "All we're doing is affirming our support of that agency of government that has made that decision," Frank Johns said. "We feel a decision has been made by a bona fide agency of government and it should be abided by."