Independent studies of Narconon's
therapeutic programmes are few in number. Narconon says
in its literature that there have been three studies done
of the effectiveness of their programme:
A. An independent 1981 Swedish study
of 13 Narconon graduates, that showed that 76% of
those that completed the Narconon Program were still
drug free two years later.
B. An independent Spanish study of 50
Narconon graduates was conducted in Mar/Apr 1987 by
"Tecnicos Asociados de Investigacion y
Marketing" (TAIM) for the Ministry of Health and
Social Services and showed that 70% of the graduates
were drug-free two years later. It was headed by Dr.
Esquerdo (105); TAIM, PDAL, 28007, Madrid, Spain.
TAIM's telephone number is, according to John Duff of
Narconon International, +34 1 273-7400.
C. An evaluation of a ten-month
Narconon project established at the Youth Training
School in Ontario showed that disciplinary offenses
among the control group increased 10 percent during
the second five-month period, while those of the
Narconon group decreased by 81 percent. The grade
average of the control group increased from C to C+,
while that of the Narconon group increased from C to
According to John Duff, the first two
studies were commisioned by Narconon, so it seems to be
slightly dishonest to claim that they are the product of
"independent" research. It should also be noted
that TAIM, the research organisation mentioned in the
second study, is not at the address given, and not listed
in any current Spanish phone directories or commercial
directories. The phone number given by John Duff seems
also to be out of use, so TAIM has either ceased trading
or moved from the Madrid area.
The name of the organization responsible
for the Swedish study is not known. Another curious thing
about the Swedish statistics is that with 13 subjects
there is no way you can get "76%" (76.9% would
be the correct figure).
The existence of the latter study has not
been yet corroborated independently, but it seems odd
that a program primarily intended to eliminate drug use
should instead be evaluated on its education and
Nothing is said about the source,
duration or methodology used for any of the studies.
A "Swedish" and
"Spanish" study is also quoted in the section
on Narconon in the book "What is Scientology",
giving amazingly accurate statistics for the programs
effectiveness (84.6% and 78.37% and respectively). It is
not clear whether this reference is to the same or to
different studies. Scientology spokesman Andrew Milne
(formerly at firstname.lastname@example.org)
claims that these are the one-year statistics. Strangely,
Narconon does not appear to have supplied Prof. Folke
Sjoqvist with a copy of the supposed Swedish study when
in November 1997 he wrote a
report on Narconon for the Swedish National Board of
Health and Welfare.
Given the claims of studies showing high
success rates, it is strange that when Narconon sought
tax rebates in Stuttgart, Germany, they were unable to
provide any evidence to support their claims of efficacy.
The Stuttgart Verwaltungsgerichtshof (administrative
appeals court) found that
"The papers filed
by the petitioner offer no evidence of a successful
drug withdrawal at the petitioner."
the VGH Stuttgart, 10 May 1993, Az: 1 S 3021/92]
The 1974 report for the California State
Department of Health has a substantial amount to say
about Narconon's claimed success rates:
"a. Public Descriptions by
Pamphlets, Notices, etc.: The 86% "cure
rate" is totally unfounded. Narconon publishes a
voluminous amount of paper for the purpose of public
relations. The main Narconon rehabilitation program
bulletin states that a high percentage of clients,
approximately 75%, are rehabilitated within 3 months.
The pamphlet further states that one supervisor can
supervise 42 people a day in three 3-hour periods.
Furthermore, one supervisor can train 14 new
supervisors in three months.
b. Misleading Claims: Narconon
claims to have an 86% cure rate for narcotics addicts
which is simply not true. Mr. Greg Zerovnik, National
Director - Narconon U.S., explained that the 86%
figure came from a study of parolees from the Arizona
State Prison who may or may not have been narcotics
addicts. This sort of claim is, of course, misleading
to both the prospective client and to public
officials who are sincerely attempting to find ways
to cope with the problem of drug abuse.
Narconon also advertises
detoxification with mega-vitamins and other
non-medical procedures that may be hazardous and in
some cases lethal. Attachment 19 is a Narconon letter
to the East Valley Free Clinic advertising an
extraordinarily expensive detoxification procedure.
It furthermore claims a 68% two year "success
rate" for drug abstinence and for arrests
"for anything related to drugs." It implies
that these success ratios are applicable to heroin
addicts and alcoholics. This claim is either
misleading or miraculous. Without supporting data the
evaluation team cannot but presume this document,
however enticing, is a misleading claim.
Narconon implies that it can raise
I.Q.'s and generally increase communication skills
for their clients. There is no scientific evidence
that these alleged changes cause a cure in
approximately 50% of cases seen as stated by Mark
Jones [then Executive Director of Narconon - see "Is
Narconon controlled by Scientology?"] in a Los Angeles
Times article. "
for recovery, House Evaluation ("Tennant Report") - by
Forrest S. Tennant, Jr., M.D., Dr.P.H., Jane Thomas,
R.N., Mike Reilly, and Joseph Shannon, M.D., M.P.H.
Submitted to Don Z. Miller, Deputy Director, Health
Treatment System, State Department of Health,
Sacramento, CA, on 31 Oct 1974.]
As well as actual therapy, Narconon
also offers lectures on drug abuse to students. According
to Narconon's website,
"ten thousand lectures on drug
abuse [have been delivered] to approximately
three-quarters of a million students in the 1980s and
early 1990s... A 1989 study by the Foundation for
Advancements in Science and Education measured the
attitude change of students from the second grade to
twelfth grade in high school and concluded:
education program is effective in teaching students
about the adverse consequences of drug abuse and has
a very positive influence on the attitudes of
students toward drugs. The most dramatic effect on
attitude [was] observed in the borderline group of
students-those indicating that they might use drugs
in the future.
Of the students in this category,
86 percent indicated that they were less likely to
use drugs following the presentation."
Drug Education Lectures", http://www.narconon.org/25-nneff.htm]
[check on FASE]