Scientific And Medical Accuracy Of Narconon Program Questioned
The Newkirk Herald Journal (?),
17 August 1989
A Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma calls it "pure unadulterated 'cow pies"'.
A Doctor of Internal Medicine in Ponca City says it is "filled with ...many false generalizations, internal inconsistencies, outright lies, and potentially dangerous treatments."
They are talking about the Purification part of the Narconon drug rehabilitation program that will be offered at Chilocco. According to a document called the Narconon Technical Line-Up copyrighted 1984 by Narconon, their rehabilitation program consists of several steps:
First, there is a Detoxification and Withdrawal program, followed by a Drug Education/Orientation lecture, Hard TR's (Training Routines), the Purification program, Objectives, the Drug Rundown, and the Way To Happiness Rundown.
Several area individuals have ask for and have been promised a copy of the Narconon "protocols" that will be used when Narconon is in operation, but after several weeks, nothing has been forthcoming from Narconon.
However, Narconon and Scientology documents have been provided by former Scientologists, Narconon volunteers, and Narconon patients which give a pretty clear idea of program contents.
One of those documents, a Hubbard Communications Bulletin called "The Purification Rundown Replaces The Sweat Program" is said to contain the core of L. Ron Hubbard's "technology" regarding the removal of toxic substances such as drugs from the body. It is a regimen which includes exercise, sauna sweat out, nutrition including vitamins, minerals, etc, as well as oil intake, and a properly ordered schedule of activity.
This and several related documents were offered for evaluation by a University of Oklahoma Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and by a Ponca City Doctor who specializes in internal medicine. Their reports are being forwarded by city leaders to the State Health Department.
The OU Professor in his August 4, 1989 report, writes, "My overall comment on Mr. Hubbard' s literature is that there is an absolute lack of data to support his assertion that the Purification Program succeeds in doing what the presently adopted programs fall to do. The documents reviewed also contain many truths and half-truths."
"However," he continues, "there is no evidence that Mr. Hubbard's approach will cure these ills.
"(Hubbard' s statement that) "There is no such thing as a fat cell" is a meaningless statement," the professor says. " 'Fat tissue' should be adipose tissue which consists of many cell types and the major lipid storage cell is termed a 'brown cell".'
Where Hubbard suggests that in 1973 someone got a Nobel Prize for curing insanity with niacin, the OU report says it is "too absurd to comment on." As far as can be determined, the professor said by telephone, no such prize was ever given.
The OU report complains of a lack of scientific data within the documents to sup- port the statements made, and concludes that, "Overall the program proposed by Mr. Hubbard is pure unadulterated 'cow pies'. It is filled with some scientific truth but mainly is illogical and the conclusions drawn by Mr. Hubbard are without any basis in scientific fact."
A report received August 14 from a Ponca City doctor specializing in Internal Medicine says...
"As a previous Medical Director of two alcohol and drug rehabilitation units, I feel I am qualified by training, interest and experience to comment specifically on the proposed treatment center's so called Purification rundown.
The Purification Rundown is apparently either all or part of Narconon' s initial detoxification program. The ... document is in general a poorly written program. There is extremely poor organization. The material is full of generalizations that have no substantiation in fact. There are internal inconsistent statements. There is no documentation.
The Purification Rundown is somewhat patterned after many reputable detoxificalion programs in which diet, exercise, education and behavioral modification are used. But due to the above mentioned deficiencies as well as several outright untruths, I think that it is fair to say that the Purification Rundown is without merit."
Some specific points made in the report: "There is certainly no scientific documentation that exercise significantly speeds up the detoxification process."
"The author states throughout, that sweating increases the rate at which drugs in general leave the body. This is certainly untrue of many drugs, as most drugs of abuse are eliminated from the body by detoxification through the liver, or by passage through the kidney, or occasionally by passage through the lungs. Although minute quantities of some drugs may appear in the sweat it is such a small fraction of drug elimination that no matter how much a patient were made to sweat it could not significantly increase his clearing of most drugs."
"The author states 'There is no such thing as a fat cell.' This is absolutely false and can be disproven by any college student who has had a course in Histology."
"The author' s recommendation for taking Vegetable Oil to replace the oils in our fat tissue that are contaminated with drugs has no documentation or basis in fact."
"Perhaps the most blatantly false statement made in the entire document (is where the) author states, 'niacin's biochemical reaction is my own private personal discovery in the middle of the 1950's. Niacin was discovered several decades before the 1950's and its importance and multiple biochemical reactions have been studied from that time until present."
"The author further goes on to state 'Niacin runs out radiation' ... There is no scientific documentation that niacin in any way gets radiation out of the body. The symptoms of which the author talks are due to dilation of the blood vessels of the skin and is a known side-effect of niacin administration."
The report continues... "there are aspects ... which I find medically unsafe. (Parts of the program) suggest that the author expects that in many cases heat exhaustion will occur. Any treatment which leads to heat ex- haustion is unsound and unsafe."
Regarding suggested use of a medical officer, the report states, "It seems quite apparent that medical officer does not equate with medical doctor or physician as the author...goes on to say 'the medical officer gives a person an OK to go on to the program after insuring the person' s blood pressure is normal and he is not anemic. The medical officer does these checks himself where he is trained to do so'. Therefore, it seems medically unqualified persons are going to be supervising this program which I think is quite dangerous."
The report concludes, "While a drug free society is a worthwhile goal of any institution, when the initial entry into this program, i.e. the Purification Rundown is filled with so many false generalizations, internal in- consistencies, outright lies, and potentially dangerous treatments, I think it is without question that Narconon will be a detriment to the Newkirk area, Kay County, and the State of Oklahoma as a whole."
City leaders say they intend to forward complete, signed copies of the two reports to the same state and federal officials who previously received other packages of material concerning Narconon.