NARCONON
AND
SCIENTOLOGY

Introduction


1
What is
Narconon?


2
What is the
Narconon
therapy
programme?


3
Narconon's
success rates


4
Medical validity
of Narconon's
practices


5
State support
for Narconon


6
Narconon's
supporters


7
Is Narconon safe?


8
Is Narconon
controlled by
Scientology?


9
Narconon and
Scientology:
a comparison


10
The Narconon
Timeline


Source
documents


Back to Index

The Narconon Timeline


(This has been pieced together from newspaper reports and some anonymous sources. As such, it is necessarily rather incomplete. If you have further additions or corrections, please email me!)

1966 (date unknown)

Narconon is reputedly founded by William Benitez, an inmate in Arizona State Prison who had read and subsequently ascribed to the writings and doctrines of L. Ron Hubbard. (It is unclear how much of a lead role was taken by the Church of Scientology in creating Narconon.)
(Tennant Report)

April 1970 (approx)

Short-lived Narconon program is established in Menard County, Illinois, but is no longer listed by January 1972.
(Major-l, circa June 1970)

1 May 1970

Narconon New Life Program is incorporated in the State of California as a non-profit corporation.
(Tennant Report)

Early 1972 (date unknown)

A Narconon program is introduced into the Delaware prisons in Smyrna and Georgetown.
(Sunday News Journal, Wilmington, DE, January 2, 1977)

June 1972

Narconon New Life Program begins in Los Angeles, CA as an office that deals with out-patients. There is no official funding at this time.
(Tennant Report)

1973 to 1976

About $60,000 in federal funds and about $6,000 in state funds is expended on the continuing Narconon programs in the Smyrna and Georgetown, DE prisons.
(Sunday News Journal, Wilmington, DE, January 2, 1977)

7 November 1973

Following a proposal by Narconon for $330,000 of state funding, Narconon New Life Program receives its first [Senate Bill] 714 funding and a contract is awarded on behalf of the State of California.
(Tennant Report)

27 June 1974

Narconon New Life Program's reserve account records a sum of $13,039.33.
(Tennant Report)

1 July 1974

Following a proposal by Narconon for $497,000 of state funding, a second contract is awarded on behalf of the State of California.
(Tennant Report)

31 October 1974

The California State Evaluation Committee faults many aspects of the program and in the end recommends that State funding not be continued.
(Tennant Report)

1976 (dates unknown)

Narconon program in a Connecticut prison is terminated.
(St. Petersburg Times, 28 Dec 1981)

A study by the Delaware State Agency to Reduce Crime contradicts Narconon's claims of success and raises doubts regarding the connection of Narconon and the Church of Scientology. In the summer of 1976 funding runs out and the program is disbanded. An investigation is launched by the intelligence unit of the state police.
(Sunday News Journal, Wilmington, DE, January 2, 1977)

Narconon establishes itself in Michigan.
(Detroit News, 11 Feb 1980 and St. Petersburg Times, 28 Dec 1981)

Minnesota Senator Rudy Boschwitz contributes $200 to Narconon. Boschwitz later insists in exchanges with Oklahoma Senators David Boren and Don Nichols, and with the Newkirk Herald Journal, that Narconon never told him of their link to Scientology. His aide, Tom Mason, has noted that the Narconon donation was a very small part of Boschwitz's estimated $56,000 in gifts to charity in 1976. However, Narconon views the senator's donation as an asset far out of proportion to its size and heavily publicises the donation as a sign of the Senator's alleged backing for their work.
(Twin Cities Reader, 1-7 October, 1981)

1977 (date unknown)

The city of Palo Alto, Ca., makes an evaluation of the contract it has with Narconon. The report points out many deficiencies in the program, and citing "low level of performance," terminates the program.

March 1977

Narconon offers the Michigan Corrections Department a free three month pilot program. With no evaluation of the program's success, the department then awards Narconon a $19,583 contract to establish a Narconon Program in Ionia State Prison, MI.
(Detroit News, 11 Feb 1980 and St. Petersburg Times, 28 Dec 1981)

1978 (dates unknown)

The Michigan Corrections Department awards a further $31,167 to the Ionia State Prison Narconon Program. Prisoners in three correctional facilities undergo Narconon courses.
(Detroit News, 11 Feb 1980 and St. Petersburg Times, 28 Dec 1981)

A Narconon program begins in St. Cloud Reformatory for Men, St. Cloud, Minnesota. Over the next three years it receives $6,200 in Minnesota state funds and over $55,000 in federal funding.

Although internal corrections department memos note problems with Scientology teachings, Narconon's link with Sen. Boschwitz prove useful to the organisation (see the entry for 1976, above). Its grant requests frequently mention Sen. Boschwitz's donation. One prison official says, "the staff of St. Cloud thought they might have potential trouble if they kicked Narconon out of their institution, because they thought (Sen.) Rudy Boschwitz supported it." Narconon continues to operate at St. Cloud Prison despite its lack of accreditation, even after its ties to Scientology have been revealed by the press.
(Twin Cities Reader, 1-7 October, 1981)

1979 (dates unknown)

A Narconon program established in West Berlin (as was) is terminated.
(St. Petersburg Times, 28 Dec 1981)

The Michigan Corrections Department awards $35,000 to the Ionia State Prison Narconon Program.
(Detroit News, 11 Feb 1980 and St. Petersburg Times, 28 Dec 1981)

October 1979

The Michigan Corrections Department awards another $35,000 to the Ionia State Prison Narconon Program. By now, over $120,000 of state funds has been disbursed to Narconon in Michigan.
(Detroit News, 11 Feb 1980 and St. Petersburg Times, 28 Dec 1981)

1980 (date unknown)

Narconon program run at Lookout Mountain School for Boys is terminated.
(St. Petersburg Times, 28 Dec 1981)

February 1980

The Detroit News runs a major exposť of the Narconon program which has been funded by the since 1976. According to the newspaper, Scientology leaders created Narconon and ran it to recruit former addicts into the church. Courses taught were virtually identical to those offered by the Church of Scientology and included material packaged as the "Communications Course", the "Study Course", and the "Objectives Course".

Michigan Corrections Dept. psychologist John Hand calls Narconon "so misleading as to be termed a 'con'. " Hand says, "They are phony, a front for the Church of Scientology. We found out in Michigan that most of the money that we were paying Narconon was laundered back into the Church of Scientology."

In the wake of the revelations, a 1980 prison study concludes that "graduates of the Narconon program do not do as well as our [prison] population in general."

Funding for the program is terminated.
(Detroit News, 11 Feb 1980 and St. Petersburg Times, 28 Dec 1981)

August 1981

Officials of the St. Cloud Reformatory for Men, St. Cloud, Minnesota raid the offices of Narconon and find, say prison sources, "more than they wanted to know about Scientology." An investigation begins on August 28, 1981, and by August 31, a prison meeting is held to deal with Narconon's links to Scientology. St. Cloud officials have had enough. In mid September the contract with the Minnesota Dept. of Corrections is terminated and the program kicked out of the prison on 30 days' notice.
(Twin Cities Reader, 1-7 October 1981)

1989 (date unknown)

The Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE) presents Narconon with a $200,000 check and a commendation for its work in a ceremony held at Newkirk, Oklahoma to mark Narconon's plans to open a 1,400 bed facility heralded as the world's largest treatment center for drug addicts. ABLE is subsequently revealed to be Narconon's parent body, a link not mentioned during the razzamatazz of the check handover.
(Time, 6 May 1991)

27 April 1989

The Newkirk Herald Journal exposes the links between Narconon and Scientology, expressing disapproval in no uncertain terms. Calling Narconon "mental messiahs with forked tongues", it comments:

"Their own propaganda says their treatments 'cannot be construed as a recommendation of medical treatment or medication and it is undertaken or delivered by anyone on his own responsibility.' In other words, if it don't work, tough cookies."

It concludes that the Oklahoma Health Planning Commission "must have had its head plugged into an E-meter not to discover the true nature of this malignity."
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

26 May 1989

Garry Bilger, the Mayor of Newkirk, Oklahoma, begins an inquiry into Narconon's planned Chilocco facility after receiving adverse reports from at least five other states. The City Commission, Chamber of Commerce and School Board join the Mayor in urging a State review of the issue.
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

31 August 1989

The Newkirk Herald Journal reports that Narconon has been using private investigators to probe the private lives of people in Newkirk, Oklahoma who have been speaking out against the establishment of the Chilocco Narconon facility.
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

1990 (date unknown)

Having previously publicly stated that it would comply with Oklahoma Health Department requirements and all other State laws, Narconon tells KFOR-TV that its Chilocco facility is on Indian land, and not subject to Oklahoma rules and laws.

2 August 1990

The Oklahoma State Health Department applies for an injunction to halt Narconon's operations at Chilocco.
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

13 September 1990

District Judge Neat Beckman orders the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health to determine by October whether the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, operating without state approval, should be certified to remain open. In the meantime, the center will be allowed to operate, but is prohibited from accepting new patients.
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

18 October 1991

The Oklahoma Board of Mental Health begins hearings into the safety and effectiveness of the treatment modality utilized by Narconon.
(Findings of Fact regarding the Narconon-Chilocco Application For Certification by the Board of Mental Health, State of Oklahoma, 13 December 1991)


24 October 1991

Narconon Chilocco is granted a further licensing delay by the Oklahoma State Board of Mental Health, pending the outcome of its review of Narconon's therapeutic practices.
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

12 December 1991

Narconon Chilocco is reported to have "received high scores on a recent state inspection".
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

13 December 1991

The Oklahoma State Board of Mental Health finds that Narconon's therapy is "not effective in the treatment of chemical dependency" and "is not medically safe". It refuses Narconon Chilocco's request for certification for services to a 75-bed residential drug and alcohol center established on Federal land owned by the Chilocco Development Authority.
(Findings of Fact regarding the Narconon-Chilocco Application For Certification by the Board of Mental Health, State of Oklahoma, 13 December 1991)

31 January 1992

Narconon Chilocco New Life Center is ordered to move its patients out and stop providing drug and alcohol abuse treatment in 10 days. Oklahoma County District Judge John Amick sets the Feb. 10 deadline after he denies another request from the unlicensed facility to remain open and admit new patients.
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

2 February 1992

Oklahoma County district Judge Freeman denies a request from Narconon Chilocco New Life Center to remain open and accept new patients because the facility never has been licensed.
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

3 March 1992

Narconon's lawyers argue in court that it is exempt from state regulations under the cloak of Indian sovereignty. But state lawyers, in a hearing in which the Oklahoma State Department of Health is seeking a court injunction to shut down Narconon Chilocco, say the facility' s location is not enough to claim Indian sovereignty. Narconon Chilocco is a non-Indian entity that treats non-Indians, says Robert Cole, a lawyer for the Health Department.
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

13 March 1992

The president of the Narconon Chilocco facility announces that it will continue to treat patients despite receiving notice from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that it should close because it has violated the terms of its lease.
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

11 June 1992

The Newkirk City Commission withdraws fire and ambulance protection from the Narconon Chilocco facility because the latter have reportedly not been paying their bills to the city.
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

20 September 1992

The Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services votes unanimously to exempt the Narconon Chilocco facility from a requirement to be certified by the state.
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

According to an unnamed source cited in another "timeline" of Narconon Chilocco's history, this exemption - which contradicted the sharply negative report on Narconon delivered two years earlier by the Board - was granted because they had shown evidence of obtaining certification by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitative Facilities (CARF). In exchange, Narconon agreed to drop a number of lawsuits against the department, the state, and the individuals on the board.

The unnamed source states:

"Documents reportedly exist that show Narconon hired the first two "inspectors" CARF sent to Narconon Chilocco to evaluate their program. One of them reportedly married the Narconon director of Education recently in a Scientology ceremony performed by a Scientology "minister."

Rumors abound that CARF has been infiltrated by the Narconon organization, and that one Ken McGreggor serves as an official on both boards. This has yet to be independently substantiated, however.

The Mental Health Board of the State of Oklahoma pointed out that the exemption granted to Narconon was entirely based on state statute that allows for such exemption. The board's attorney, Patrick Ryan, said, "That's different from certifying them. The board has not ever, and did not by today's action, give a stamp of approval of NARCONON". "

 

27 October 1992

Narconon is granted a license from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, marking the first time since it opened for business more than two years ago that it officially can be called legal. The license is good for a year and can be renewed. State licensing makes it easier for Narconon Chilocco or its patients to get reimbursement for its services through insurance companies.
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

25 March 1993

The State of Oklahoma issues a warrant ordering Narconon to pay overdue taxes; the payment comes two days later. Indian leaders on whose land the Chilocco facility is based are also unhappy. "They haven't paid us with a payment since last September."
(Newkirk Herald Journal - date as above)

7 June 1995

Five Indian tribes in Chilocco, Oklahoma do not want to deal with Narconon any longer but have decided to leave this business to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Narconon has a 25-year lease for the Chilocco site. The tribes had expected to receive a total of $16 million for this time; but Narconon has only 75 instead of the 1,000 expected beds, therefore the payments have been much lower. The tribes have received about $10,000 a year. [Footnote: the legal bills incurred in the long period of litigation with Narconon probably swallowed up this modest sum several times over.]
(Associated Press - date as above)

April 1998

The Swedish media report that the Church of Scientology has been distributing a promotional video including footage of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, with a voice-over saying: "Even His Highness King Carl Gustaf has realized that Sweden has a solution for drug abuse. It is called Narconon." Sweden is presented by Scientology as a country with many drug addicts and the highest rate of theft in the world. The footage turns out to be a decade old, and a spokeswoman for the Court states: "The Royal Couple does not support this organization in any way. We have made contact with Scientology and demanded that the segment with the Royal Couple be edited out."
(Reuters, 6 April 1998; Berlin Kurier, 8 April 1998; TV4, Sweden, 8 April 1998)

Back to start

Last updated 31 August 1998
by Chris Owen (chriso@lutefisk.demon.co.uk)