Narconon, Scientology Disguised as Drug Rehab
Narconon runs almost 200 affiliated addiction treatment centers worldwide, and although they never explicitly mention their connection with Scientology, they are most assuredly affiliated organizations.
They also maintain an incredible web presence, and any search on addiction related topics will link you to Narconon affiliates, and usually on the first page of Google. A big part of the problem with Narconon is that at first glance what they say seems very reasonable, seems scientific, and they seem to offer a very legitimate and relatively affordable way to rehab off of drugs or alcohol. They also boast of an astonishing success rate (80% or better!).
The Narconon philosophy
Narconon is based entirely on the works and teachings of Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and they use a two pronged approach of saunas and education to "cure" addicts from their dependencies. Narconon advocates do not subscribe to the concept of addiction as a disease, and they insist that no further treatment is needed for life after the successful completion of a Narconon rehab.
How do they do it?
Narconon rehabs consist of two primary phases. The first "detox" phase consists of a month or more of long daily saunas, which when combined with vitamin supplements are supposed to rid the body of drug metabolites that lead to cravings. The second segment of programming involves somewhat bizarre educational seminars in which patients are taught how better to interact with the natural world, and to live a moral and ethical life free from abuse.
Problems with Narconon
There are a number of serious problems with the Narconon model of treatment, and none bigger than the fact that the program is based on the scientific teachings of a man who lied about his scientific credentials, and seemed to have a limited understanding of real science (The bizzare science of Narconon).
Narconon patients are given massive doses of niacin while partaking in saunas, as this is supposed to rid the fat cells of drug metabolites. It does not. Drug metabolites are not generally thought to have any real influence over long term cravings.
Narconon also boasts of an 80% or better success rate, but will not release any treatment or relapse data for independent confirmation.
An actual independent study of Narconon relapse rates showed that only about 10% of graduates actually stay drug free. Any "scientific" studies published to support Narconon programs are done by Narconon faithful, and published within the organization. There has been no outside confirmation of anything they do, and that's how they like to keep it.
Narconon will not prescribe any medications to ease the pains of detox, even though detox off of some drugs can be dangerous, and even fatal if un-medicated.
Narconon seems also to be an indoctrination ground for Scientology, and they prey on the vulnerable battling with addiction to increase their numbers and finances.
Get real drug treatment
If you need drug treatment, be very careful with any Narconon affiliated rehab. They do not offer what they promise, and they may do more harm than good.
You need drug treatment that offers you the best legitimate chance at success and sobriety, and you need to do your homework to ensure that any facility under consideration does apply known and trusted therapies and treatments against addiction, and not pseudoscience and alternative religion.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christian Shire is an addictions professional writing about all matters pertaining to treatment and recovery. If you need help making a decision about treatment visit ChooseHelp to read more.
Read the daily addiction blog, Troubleblog for stories of recovery and the latest news on treatment options.