1974 report on Narconon
From Diane Richardson <[email protected]>
This is an old report, but I think the data it contains can still shed a lot of light on how Narconon works. A brief explanation of the report's provenance is in order.
Back in 1974, Narconon New Life of Los Angeles was receiving California state funds through what was known as the Short Doyle act, which allocated money to alternative drug treatment programs -- recovery houses, therapeutic communities, and the like. This evaluation was conducted at the request of the California State Department of Health by a team composed of Forest S. Tennant, Jr., M.D., Dr.P.H., Jane Thomas, R.N., Mike Reilly, and Joseph Shannon, M.D., M.P.H. It was submitted to Don Z. Miller, Deputy Director, Health Treatment System, State Department of Health, Sacramento, CA, on 31 Oct 1974.
OUTLINE FOR RECOVERY HOUSE EVALUATION
NARCONON NEW LIFE
827 Beacon Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90017
Ben Gibson - Director, Narconon New Life;
Greg Zerovnik - National Director, Narconon U.S.
1. HISTORY OF PROGRAM
a. Length of Existence: Narconon New Life began in June, 1972 as an office that dealt with out-patients. There was no official funding at that time. It received its first [Senate Bill] 714 funding in November, 1973.
b. Pattern of Evolution: Narconon is derived etymologically from Greek and essentially means "not stuporous." As used by the organization Narconon, it signifies an aversion or antagonism towards the use of drugs that depress the central nervous system.
The organization "Narconon" was founded in 1966 by William Benitez, an inmate in Arizona State Prison who had read and subsequently ascribed to the writings and doctrines of L. Ron Hubbard. In 1972, out of an apparent need to place released prisoners, a halfway house was organized. With the work of residents and a pooling of funds the recovery house, now called Narconon New Life, soon became formally established and functioning.
The Director of Narconon New Life halfway house is a Mr. Ben Gibson. Mr. Gibson's actual experiential involvement in the "drug culture" is minimal. By his own testimony he had tried "pot" approximately five times and LSD once. He apparently was familiar with the effects of opiate addiction in New York but his stated real motivating experience for devoting his energies to "treatment" and prevention of drug abuse was his witnessing of a dramatic suicide attempt. His vocational background was principally in the fringe arts (handicrafts). Although he did not obtain an undergraduate degree he is obviously an articulate, disciplined, and ambitious man. He states that he received an honorary L.L.D. from the California College of Law. Hence the title "Dr." Gibson.
An apparently important figure in the development of Narconon in California is a Mr. Greg Zerovnik. Mr. Zerovnik is presently National Director of Narconon-United States and is based in Los Angeles. His academic background includes a B.A. in Fine Arts. His experiential relationship to the "drug scene" includes, by his own testimony, a two and one-half to three year history of "dealing drugs" in the Bay area. Whether or not he was ever a "user" is ambiguous. In any case he is also articulate, disciplined and ambitious. He, as well as Mr. Gibson, are "ministers" in the Church of Scientology.
2. CONTRACT DATA
a. Number: This information was not available to us.
b. Date: The first SB 714 contract was awarded November 7, 1973. The current SB 714 contract was awarded July 1, 1974.
c. Number of Beds (Contract and Non-Contract): There were eight beds available for a duration of treatment of 120 days.
d. Amount of Money: The amount of money received was $44,000 plus $1320 in patient fees. The money is paid at the rate of $15.00 per patient per day.
e. Non-Contract Money -- Sources and Amount: Narconon has a California Youth Authority contract for $300 per month per patient. There is no limit on the number of subjects that can be taken. Most additional monies appear to be raised by the selling of educational courses to residents and clients attending on an outpatient basis.
3. FUNDING PROPOSAL FOR SHORT-DOYLE
The first proposal that was submitted for 714 funding was to L.A. County through the Echo Parks - Sierra Lake Coalition (now Central Drug Coalition) for slightly over $330,000. There was not a copy of this proposal on the premises and we were told that all the copies were submitted to the County and therefore they had no copies.
A second proposal was submitted in 1974 for approximately $497,000. This proposal is attached. Almost the entire proposal is dedicated to testimonies and statements of the effectiveness of Narconon. There is no mention in the proposal about Scientology. There is no mention about the population to be served, the objectives, staff pattern, community coordination, evaluation, and very little about the treatment process. There is a statement in the proposal about non-medical detoxification which states that Narconon's detoxification procedure enables the addict to get off heroin without using any substitute drug or suffering heavy withdrawal pains. In the budget there are slots for six detoxification specialists. These specialists are non-medical and trained within Narconon itself.
4. BOARD OF DIRECTORS
a. Profit or Non-Profit Corporation: Narconon has been a non-profit corporation under the state of California since May 1, 1970.
b. Members: There are three members of the Board of Directors: 1) William C. Benitez, 2) Henning Heldt; 3) Arthur J. Maren. All three members are Scientologists and Heldt and Maren are employed full time in the Church of Scientology. This documentation of board members of Narconon lends direct support to the supposition that Narconon is closely aligned with the Church of Scientology.
c. How Often Do They Meet: The Articles of Incorporation state the Board will meet once per year although they may have special meetings.
d. Financial and Other Reports for Board: According to the Narconon staff reports are sent monthly to Director of Narconon U.S. (Zerovnik) who, in turn, keeps the Board informed.
a. License for Facility: The facility does not have a board and care license. During the past month they were visited by representatives of L.A. County concerning this license. However, there is apparently no active movement underway to acquire the board and care license.
b. Square Footage Per Patient: This is difficult to determine since we were not able to ascertain exactly the number of patients that reside in the facility.
c. General Appearance; Hygiene; and Safety: The recovery house was clean and had fire extinguishers. There appeared to be ample space in rooms for patients. There were ten client beds although some patients apparently live in another facility on Westmoreland Avenue.
d. Kitchen Facilities and Nutrition: These appeared to be in good clean condition. The garbage collection was adequate and appeared sanitary.
a. Number: Currently, the Recovery House has twenty-nine full time staff members ranging in age from eighteen to thirty.
b. Full-Time; Part Time; Sex; Ethnic Breakdown: The staff is about 60% male and 40% female. The ethnic breakdown for staff, according to the director, is 80% Caucasian, 10% Chicano, and 10% Black.
c. Educational Background: The Director told the evaluation team that in actual practice, seven senior staff members make decisions and, in effect, run the program. All staff members are graduates of the Narconon training course and all senior staff members are concurrently members of the Church of Scientology.
d. Criteria for Hiring: The criteria for the hiring of the staff includes completion of the Narconon Training Course (three weeks minimum) and high motivation.
e. Training: There is a seven week provisional period for staff after course completion during which they work and receive additional training before they begin getting paid. According to the director of Narconon New Life and director of Narconon U.S. an additional requirement for Narconon staff members responsible for using an E-meter to audit student progress, is that they be a recognized minister in the Church of Scientology.
f. Staff Coverage: There are obviously more than enough staff to provide adequate house coverage. Nine of the senior staff reside in the upstairs portion of the administrative house next door to the Recovery House residence. Since the residential client population averages 20 to 25, it would seem as though staff outnumbers clients. However, many of the staff are assigned to do introductory courses, community relations, solicitation of new members and clients, and various other program functions. Additionally, day and evening classes are offered on an outpatient basis not only for drug dependent individuals, but for probation officers, teachers and members of the general public as well.
g. Turnover: When asked about staff turnover, the Director estimated that the program loses one staff member approximately every six months. If this figure is accurate, that would represent a very low turnover rate in comparison to most other drug treatment programs. The team had no way to corroborate this statement.
h. Organizational Structure: The organizational structure of the program, including program rules and procedures, criteria and training for staff, work assignments, educational course content, staff structure, organizational structure, and program philosophy are derived directly from a seven volume series entitled "The Organization Executive Course" by L. Ron Hubbard and published by the Church of Scientology. Since this material was not originally intended for use by a drug abuse treatment program some additional procedures and directives have been developed by Narconon U.S. specifically focused on dealing with a drug abusing population. The Director of Narconon U.S. assured the evaluation team that policies developed within Narconon in no way contradicted the basic principles set forth by Hubbard in his seven volume series, but instead, were intended to augment them.
The program organizational structure alone, taken directly from Hubbard's works, is a highly complex and rigidly structured system that provides for exact assignment of work roles, precise supervisory monitoring of quality and amount of work completed, defined training requirements for each work assignment within the organization, and processes for discipline of staff who have violated the rules or policies of the program.
The various offenses that staff may be disciplined for are characterized as high crimes, felonies, misdemeanors or errors. One section of the "Organization Executive Course" specifies that staff "convicted" of "high crimes" in addition to having all training certificates revoked and being banned from the organization, will further be labeled as "fair game." A later directive from Hubbard instructs that the term "fair game" not be used any longer as it is potentially harmful for public relations.
The evaluation team was unable to ascertain to what extent these staff disciplinary practices are actually utilized within the program. One staff member interviewed indicated that one of his responsibilities was staff auditor, which within the organization means that he would administer E-meter or "truth detector" tests to other staff members. The circumstances under which these tests would take place was not explained.
i. Lines of Communication: Narconon U.S. manages all the Narconon offices by "remote management." This means that they keep track of all data including admissions, discharges, income, expenses, etc. The organizational structures and lines of communication appear to be more rigid than what one might expect to find in a military organization.
The lines of communication between the staff are again specified and consist apparently of regular weekly meetings at various levels of the program organizational structure. A network of reports are prepared on a regular basis within the organization. It would be fair to say that virtually all of the staff have a remarkably similar understanding of the program and its purposes, and in that sense, internal communication is quite good.
In summary, it is important to qualify the foregoing explanation of staffing and organizational structure as a mere surface description of the tip of the iceberg. In order to really understand the machinations of this program, one would probably need to read the thousands of pages of Hubbard's writings and even then, have to be personally involved in the organization for a number of years. The brief time the evaluation team had to spend on these issues served to raise a good many more questions than they answered.
7. PATIENT DATA
a. Demographic Characteristics: The printed information made available to us and the various interviews indicated that the Narconon Halfway House would accept any individual from anywhere who was assessed by the Narconon organization as being eligible for their "treatment" procedure. The two clients interviewed were from Los Angeles and Cleveland, respectively. There was no evidence in the Narconon literature or in the interviews with the Narconon staff that Narconon was attempting to or interested in providing services to any particular area or locale within Los Angeles County.
b. Drug Problem: Narconon literature clearly emphasizes its interest in the prevention and treatment of drug abuse and drug related problems. The interviews with staff, however, quite clearly established that drug use was largely incidental to their program and that their real efforts are directed at instilling in the "students" a mastery system in which personal and environmental problems are eradicated by the exercise of a programmed or conditioned willpower.
8. PATIENT RECORDS
We were initially told that we would have access to patient records. However, when we came to that part of our review which required a sampling of patient records, access was insistently denied on the basis of "students" (patients) privileged information. "Students'" records are kept under lock and key at Central Files (C.F.) to which only the director "Doctor" Gibson and his wife Cora allegedly have access. Mr. Gibson's assistant, Sandy, did show me three documents demonstrating a "student's" substantial improvement in personality adjustment and I.Q. The former (a personality profile) is termed American Personality Analysis (see attached) and copyrighted by Julia Lewis Salmen. I was told that exclusive rights were held by either L. Ron Hubbard or the Church of Scientology, or both. The second two documents were before and after I.Q. measurements on the same "student" and demonstrated a 36 point improvement on the second measurement. The I.Q. test forms are a standardized California test (California Capacity Questionnaire) and are available for general public use. No other patient or "student" record material was made available but conversations indicated that patient records were of a confessional type which could be embarrasing or perhaps incriminating if known to anyone other than specified Narconon "officers."
Standardized forms that go into the making of a "student's" personal file were given to us (see attached forms termed A, A1, A2, A3, A4 Codes). The preceding letter-numbered coded forms tabulate general "student" information such as age, sex, etc., as well as documenting a variety of Narconon courses completed. Additionally the forms emphasize I.Q. testing, drug use data, fiscal information and correctional institution history. Again it was implied that some sort of progree notes were included but confidentiality precluded inspection even with the names or other identifying information blocked out.
9. FISCAL RECORDS
a. Working Budget: Narconon did not have a program budget nor did they have a copy of the line item budget submitted to the county for the Short Doyle Contract. The staff reported that the county had lost the original budget and that Narconon had sent the county its last copy to replace it.
The fiscal records kept by the program seem detailed and complete. Income, expenditures and assets are accounted for on a monthly basis. As of June 27, 1974, Narconon had a balance of $13,039.33 in its reserve account.
b. Program Expenses: Monthly program expenses are allocated according to a percentage formula derived from "The Organization Executive Course" by L. Ron Hubbard. Under this rather complex system, in any given month 31% of total income is allocated to salaries; 5% to training; 54% to operational expenses; and 10% to general reserves. The allocation to operational expenses includes 10% of total income which is paid monthly to Narconon U.S. from all Narconon field programs. This payment is for research, and for the development of training and student course materials.
If the percentage amount of income is greater than actual expenses for a given month, the average will go into a reserve account for that particular category. If the percentage amount of income is less than actual expenses for a given month, then it is up to the program to either cut expenses or generate more client revenue.
This method of allocating income provides particular incentives for program staff to solicit new clients because, as total income increases, there is a proportionate increase in individual staff salaries.
The amount paid each staff member in a given month is calculated from yet another Hubbard formula. Each position is assigned a given number of units, based on level of responsibility within the organization. (i.e., Executive Director position is assigned 200 units monthly.) Additionally, there are opportunities listed for earning bonus units. Some bonus units are allowed for time in service. Production bonus units are allocated for prison work and recruitment of new members. At the end of each month, units are computed for each staff member. The total units earned by staff are divided into the total salary allocation for that month in order to compute the worth of a single work unit. Each staff member then is paid the total of a single work unit multiplied by the total number of units he has earned during the month. In this manner, staff salaries vary from month to month and depend solely on the amount of client revenue that can be generated for the program.
c. Billings: Under the Short Doyle contract, Narconon has been reimbursed at a provisional billing rate of fifteen dollars a day per Short-Doyle client from March 1974. From November 1973 through February 1974, the program was reimbursed for actual cost of operating expenses. The reimbursement for actual cost in the period from November 1973 to February 1974 resulted in payments of $1918 more than the program would have gotten had they billed at the $15 per diem rate for the same time period. Given the process the program uses to calculate salaries, it is difficult to understand how they could define the actual cost of program operation for billing purposes. If the actual program cost depends on how much income you receive, how can you bill for reimbursement based on a program cost that can't be calculated until after the reimbursement billing is received? If these kinds of questions seem somewhat confusing to the reader, they have created similar problems for the evaluation team.
At any rate, the billings seemed detailed and corresponded with recorded client days in treatment. The program staff seems to understand the process they use and the county seems satisfied to pay. The evaluation team did not ask to see source documents supporting bookkeeping entries, preferring rather to retreat to firmer ground.
e. Yearly Audit Done: Under the County Short Doyle contract from November 1973 through June 1974, Narconon was required to have an independent audit conducted for the county within 90 days. They failed to do so and were advised by the evaluation team that this needed to be done.
10. TREATMENT PROCESS
Introductory Note: Aside from the initial detoxification, "bullbaiting," and the later "auditing" process described below, and orthodox definition of the word treatment is not applicable to Narconon as we saw it and as it was described to us. The traditional labels of "patient" or "client" are, by Narconon, identified as "students" or occasionally "PC's" (presumably meaning Pre-Clears in the scientological lexicon). In reference to the latter, we must point out that any connection between Narconon and Scientology other than coincidental was usually vehemently denied. The interview data and our observations support a rehabilitation conception perhaps best termed a "corrective educational experience." Occuring in a stepwise fashion from rigidly simple rote exercises through the more complex "auditing" process and (for those who can afford it) a multiplicity of "clear" and "Post-Clear" states promising total personal and environmental control. Theoretically it is a patchwork of Freudian, Gestalt, Pavlovian, science fiction and Eastern (reincarnation) ideas unequivocably sutured together with L. Ron Hubbard's terminology. Indeed, the initial exercises require in addition to a standard English dictionary, a special Narconon dictionary enabling the "student" to understand the Narconon/Scientology terminology.
a. Criteria for Admission: From our review of Narconon publications and from our interview data gathered from staff and students we must assume that there are no established drug use criteria for residents at the Narconon New Life Halfway House. The verbal statements of having used marijuana or some other illicit drug may be a drug abuse requirement for admission but it was not so stated. The one requirement specified verbally was that a potential student must pass the motivation assessment interview conducted in a room termed Department 6 and thereafter be given the final acceptance notice by "Doctor" Gibson's wife Cora at Division 1. Thus it seems that the single admission criteria is Narconon's assessment of motivation.
b. Patient Evaluation: Narconon "student" evaluation is done by a staff officer's subjective evaluation of student motivation subsequent to which a routine routing format follows. The latter includes a coded data collection system geared to tracking the individual within the Narconon network of programs. There is a section on Form A2 entitled "drug history" that records and codes drugs used. The latter is a recording of the student's verbal statements concerning drug use, past and present, and is not verified by objective physical or laboratory data. The Narconon written documents and interview data indicated that medical examinations were not a routine procedure and we were unable to determine as to whether or not any medical information per se (a previous medical history and physical examination) were part of the student's confidential file. As noted previously a "personality analysis" and a before and after I.Q. recording are standard Narconon procedures.
c. Psychotherapy: Although the term "psychotherapy" is antithetical to Narconon officialdom the "bullbaiting" and the subsequent "auditing" procedures are adaptations from "encounter" therapy and Freudian psychoanalytic treatment models. Noting Narconon's aversion to traditional psychology's terminology the description of the Narconon rehabilitation process hereafter will be termed "instruction exercises" or "training routines" in an attempt to minimize confusion.
Upon acceptance into the Narconon New Life Halfway House the student either promptly begins the basic Narconon Communication Course or if drug dependent promptly taken to the detoxification room for drug withdrawal. The latter is describe elsewhere. Subsequent to processing through Department 6, a final acceptance by the Director's wife, Cora Gibson, at Division 1 and receiving the course instruction materials (including standard English and Narconon dictionaries), and "Coach" assignment at Division 2, a student begins the two or four week basic Narconon Communication Course. The Communication Course involves a rigid series of training routines termed TR's subnumbered 0-9. Each TR is an individually prescribed entity which must be mastered before proceeding on an upward "gradient" to the next TR. TR0 involves three exercises specified as "eyes closed," "eyes opened," and "bullbaiting." The premise seems to involve the exercise of trust in "eyes closed," the exercise of direct eye contact tolerance (staring into the coach's eyes) in "eyes open," and the seeking of an emotional weak spot or "button" and a corresponding emotional response to it in the bullbaiting routine. The bullbaiting exercise seems to involve principally physical characteristics that may be used to embarrass or humiliate an individual and condition him to accept and control is responses to these verbal threats to his body image. For example, one might poke fun at a poor complexion, a crooked nose, and etc. Bullbaiting appears to be a crude forerunner of the more polished auditing procedure and is accomplished without the use of the so-called E-meter. Additionally it appears to be the primary part of TR0 or the initial exercise routine.
TR1 through 9 involves mastering written course materials obviously adapted from L. Ron Hubbard's works and incorporated into the Narconon Communication Course. They primarily involve the "proper" understanding of key words and phrases that must be looked up in the Narconon dictionary and then demonstrated in each exercise routine. TR1 teaches students to "clearly communicate"; TR2 -- how to "acknowledge" properly; TR3 -- how to get an answer to a question without "variation"' and TR4 -- how to handle "origination" -- to accept a pain or discomfort and find out where it originated.
The first five TR's (0-4) must be mastered in their entirety three times before proceeding to TR6. (We were informed that no TR5 existed.) TR6 involves "good and effective control over an individual or group"' TR7 -- the same as TR6 but on a higher "gradient" which presumably means physical control over a threatening or disturbed individual. TR8 involves "intention without reservation" -- to totally clarify ones intentions (which may be nonverbal). TR9 is a culmination of previous TR's and stresses particularly the thorough mastery of four conceptions, i.e. "exact intention," "exact strength needed," "exact force necessary," and "exact intention without reservation or limit." The student now goes backwards through this routine and if successful is given a certificate of completion for the basic Narconon Communication Course. Upon completion of the basic Communication Course the student is apparently free to choose any number of more "advanced" course study programs, most of which appear to be stepping stones towards the attainment of HQS (Hubbard Qualified Scientologist) status. We were told that approximately 90 percent of the students go on into the various courses available. A Mr. John Powers, who stated he is the new staff auditor for Narconon New Life, states that he hoped all graduates of the basic Narconon Communications Course would take courses leading to HQS.
It was very ambiguous to us, due to conflicting statements, exactly how the E-meter auditing and the Post-Basic Narconon courses related. It seemed clear enough, however, that the E-meter was routinely used in many if not all of the courses and it was implied that this device was used at least occasionally in the Basic Narconon Communication Course.
1) I.Q. Raising -- It was implied and in material from a case file "demonstrated" that the Narconon Communication Course promised a substantial elevation of the student's I.Q.
2) E-Meter -- The E-meter is a fairly crude lie detector-like device that allegedly indicates areas of mental conflict, fixations, conscious and unconscious lying, and various other psychic phenomenon based on Hubbard's "engram" theory. The latter is roughly equivalent to popularized Freudian conceptions of mental fixations or Jungian psychic "complexes" but dramatized by an electronic galvonometric device and its association with the scientological "technology."
e. Discipline: Our interviewed data indicated that the Narconon disciplinary approach was based on the "Student's Guide to Ethical Behavior." We were not able to get a copy of the latter document. We were told that infractions were "routed" to the "Ethics Officer" who taught the infractors where they went wrong. We were unable to obtain any precise information as to what infractions were other than the drinking of alcohol 24 hours prior to a course. All medication use or abuse is considered deviant or aberrant behavior but the rules or regulations determining policy actions were simply unstated. One of the "supervisors" interviewed stated that a student using Dilantin, phenobarbital, and Tedral was expelled from Narconon New Life Halfway House. Presumably the latter individual was epileptic and asthmatic and his medication use precluded participation in the Narconon rehabilitation program.
f. Phases of Treatment: There are apparently no stated phases of treatment but rather a continual upward flow of course completions leading to the attainment, if successful, of control over oneself and one's environment. This flow is termed a "gradient" by the Narconon staff. The terminology is strikingly similar and presumably parallels, if not merging, the Scientology hierarchy. The latter presumption was underscored by a lengthy conversation with "members" - "employees" at the Scientology/ Westwood office where it was stated that Narconon was simply the application of Scientology "technology" to the problem of drug addiction. Additionally two patients interviewed on a local methadone program reported that their unsuccessful treatment for heroin use at Narconon was by the application of Scientology techniques and was essentially directed at eventually attaining a "clear" state. Again, any connection with Scientology other than coincidental was vigorously denied by Dr. Gibson and his principal assistants.
Re-entry in to Narconon Rehabilitation Process is encouraged for drop-outs and apparently implies faster progression through the course materials and has a lower financial burden for the individual during his second matriculation.
g. Urine Testing: No urine testing is done by Narconon New Life Halfway House. However, students on parole may get urine testing at their parole officers. It was not stated whether or not records were kept of urinalysis results but it appeared clear that communication between Narconon and the parole officials was maintained.
h. Vocational/Educational: Narconon is a continually expanding self-contained or closed ended organization. Students must pay either in money or in work for the Narconon courses and are encouraged to proceed through the course work system to a promotion to staff status where they can share in monies derived from various sources for their Narconon work and additionally pay for ones own "auditing." (This system is analogous to a Psychoanalytic Institute where analysts in training treat clinic patients for a moderate fee to help pay for their own continuing analysis by Training Analysts and as well support the costs of maintaining the institute.) "Moonlighting" is encouraged if it doesn't interfere with course work as it provide additional monies for a faster personal "auditing" process. An interviewed supervisor stated that it will take him approximately five years to attain the "clear" state whereas if he had sufficient funds of his own he could reach this much coveted status within one year. In short, Narconon appeared to be an inwardly oriented organization where vocational interests are subordinated to promoting an individual's progression through the Narconon/Scientology hierarchy.
i. Recreation: Narconon has no formalized recreational activities. We were assured, however, that touch football and various other recreational activities occurred on a fairly regular basis.
j. Drop Development Placement: See "h." above.
k. Detoxification: Narconon New Life Halfway House has one room specified as the detoxification room. The detoxification procedure is monitored 24 hours daily by a Narconon trained detoxification specialist. The procedure consists of "touching," "extroverting" the subject's attention from his body, and approximately a half handful of enteric coated vitamins every six hours. The detoxification procedure usually does not exceed 72 hours and is described as comfortable. The subject is said to sleep well. A single page communique from Mark Jones (former Executive Director-Narconon U.S.) explicitly states that only heroin addicts should be detoxified by the Narconon process. This information is either unknown or unheeded by the staff members interviewed at Narconon New Life Halfway House. Mr. John Powers states that he had seen a "convulsion" stopped immediately by the Narconon procedure but was unable to describe in even layman's terms what this convulsive episode consisted of. What he did describe was similar to a hysterical outburst which could quite easily be relieved by a calm, soothing and attentive companion.
l. Informed Consent: Narconon uses several consent or agreement forms with various titles. The most interesting form is entitled "Legal Contract for Narconon Rehabilitation Program." (See attachment.) Among other things this document specifies that the Narconon service "is spiritual guidance not intended to diagnose or treat human ailments of body or mind by other than spiritual means." It additionally specifies that the "service which is subject to this agreement is open to anyone who: a. does not have a purely medical illness which would be curable within the skills of a physical practitioner; b. does not have a history or record of institutionalization in an insane asylum or similar place; c. is not connected with any person or group of known antagonism towards Narconon; d. enrolls on his own determinism and not on orders of any other group or person; e. will use the knowledge gained to help others in the understanding that one has to help others to help himself; f. is willing to abide by the rules governing the program as such may be made known to him in HCO (HCO presumably means Hubbard Communication Office) Policy letters and other authorized publications; g. is not using this service to try to cure an illness."
Item 7 and 9 of the preceding agreement essentially relieves Narconon of any actual or potential legal claim of any sort under any circumstances and in perpetuity. Item 11 "expressly waives the prohibitions of Section 1542 of the Civil Code of California," i.e., certain claims not affected by general release.
There is a specific detoxification agreement (see attachment) that simply provides a signed agreement that the detoxification subject will remain in the detoxification unit 72 hours or until complete detoxification and is willing to accept a no refund provision.
We were not provided with and must presume that there is no informed consent document specifying the risks involved in withdrawal from hypnotics/tranquilizer medications such as convulsive episodes during barbiturate withdrawal. There are two inherently logical conclusions for omitting this type of informed consent document: 1. the legal contract described above apparently relieves Narconon of any legal responsibilities for any such risk; 2. Mark Jones's memorandum excluding detoxification from any drug excepting heroin in which serious withdrawal complications are minimal. Nevertheless, our information indicates that the letter directive is either unknown or unusued at Narconon New Life Halfway House.
11. INTERVIEW OF PATIENTS
a. General Appearance: The residents appeared to be well dressed and well nourished.
b. Attitude: The patients had a positive attitude. Most of them wanted to become qualified Scientologists.
c. Interviews with Patients: We were allowed to interview two "students" selected personally by Mr. Ben Gibson.
The first interviewee was X, who has resided at the Narconon New Life Halfway House for approximately three months. She was "referred" by her brother, the director Mr. Ben Gibson. She stated that she had never really been into drugs but had used "pot" and feels that she would have become "strung out" on heroin had she not come to Los Angeles from Cleveland and participated in the Narconon rehabilitation program. She was uncertain as to whether or not she would pursue the more advanced Narconon courses and become a Scientologist.
The second interviewee, W, is presently a "supervisor" and is a former "student" of Narconon's rehabilitation program. W is a 20-year-old male who describes himself as having been a bastard (illegitimate). His drug problem consisted to using methadrine intravenously three to four times and some use of Seconal but "never addicted or really into them." His stated main concern was that of "pot," not particularly because of the health implications but because it was against the law. His first association with Narconon was in 1973 and lasted two to three months. He left to get married and returned approximately five months ago and has remained with Narconon since as has his wife who is also employed by Narconon. His present function is that of a "supervisor" for the initial introductory exercise or what is termed the Narconon Communication Course. He obtains a subsistence remuneration for his work and is definitely goal oriented in terms of reaching a "clear" state through the "auditing" process over a period of approximately five years. If he could afford the fees he feels he could obtain this much coveted state within one year. Since he hasn't the funds he'll "moonlight" to pay for the "auditing" process during the coming years. W initially stated he was a Scientologist then retracted and stated he was a dues paying member of the Church of Scientology. W again retracted his dues paying status and stated that he donated money to the Church of Scientology and was uncertain as to whether or not he could be rightfully termed a member of the Church. W. was an enthusiastic young man who whatever his affiliation with Scientology was certainly a "true believer."
A third student interviewed at Narconon claims that she arrived "strung out" from heroin, methadone and 45 reds a day. She said she was not taken to detoxification but stayed up for 2-3 days with someone before being assigned to classes. Her claim was that she was "shaky," couldn't sleep and felt sick. There was no physician to see her at this time. This patient was referred to Narconon by her husband and a priest at CRC.
12. OUTCOME OF TREATMENT
There was no hard data available. The claims of 86% recovery is misleading as explained below.
13. ADVERTISEMENTS AND CLAIMS
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 in a Los Angeles Times article.
One gathers, after visiting their facility and reading the rehabilitation program pamphlet, that there is as much effort being directed towards obtaining new supervisors and training other supervisors for the purpose of selling education courses as is being directed toward the treatment/rehabilitation of drug abusers.
14. COMPLIANCE WITH N.I.D.A. STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES FOR RECOVERY HOUSES
In assessing the existing program operation to compare current program practices with the Federal Funding Criteria for Treatment Services, there arose a serious question as to whether Narconon was in compliance with even its existing county Short-Doyle contract requirements.
The County defines a recovery house as "a place where persons seeking to recover from narcotic addiction reside and endeavor to aid one another and receive aid from others in recovering from such addiction. . . ."
While the County contract specifies narcotic addiction as a requirement for treatment in recovery houses, the evaluation team found no evidence to indicate that this was a requirement for acceptance within the Narconon program. On the contrary, in interviewing three residents, one had apparently used heroin, methadone and reds, another claimed to have used intravenous methadrine several times but had not used heroin. The third had used "pot" several times and have never used "harder" drugs. By any stretching of definitions it would be difficult to classfy two of the three clients interviewed as "narcotic addicts." Since these funds were appropriated for the treatment of a specified client population, it would seem that using them for the treatment of a different client population constitutes a violation of contract terms and a misuse of treatment monies.
Narconon is not currently operating in a manner that would comply with many NIDA guidelines, but program staff expressed a willingness to make necessary program changes if money was made available and if they were required to do so as a condition of funding.
15. UTILIZATION OF STATE MONEY
a. Does Recovery House Use State Money To Entice Patient To Pay Money For Other Purposes?
Is is the opinion of the evaluating team that some Narconon clients are initially funded under 714 only to be sold basic communication courses that may or may not be directly related to Scientology.
b. Does Recovery House Use State Money For Purposes Other Than Drug Treatment?
In the opinion of the evaluation team there was little evidence that a significant number of the clients treated at Narconon were drug dependent individuals. Additionally there is little doubt that the religion of Scientology is advocated, openly discussed, and encouraged within Narconon. Since the Church of Scientology is a religion it appears that State money is being directly used to support a church. There appears to be little difference between Narconon and the Church of Scientology. For example, there was one book entitled "The Problem of Work" by L. Ron Hubbard and on the inside cover of the book was a statement "For religious use only." The evaluation team was also given a demonstration of the use of the E-meter.
All of the literature and books are directly derived from Scientology and most staff are already or are becoming Scientologists. It would appear that Narconon is receiving state funds for treating "addicts" and is using primarily methods or "technology" of the Church of Scientology.
16. RECOMMENDATIONS AND/OR CONDITIONS FOR CONTINUED STATE FUNDING
a. Detoxification procedures should be stopped on the premises since their procedures are without proper medical supervision and may be dangerous.
b. Three evaluation team members recommend cessations of State funding.
c. One evaluation team member recommends continued funding if the following conditions are met:
1) Program must operate a facility that specifically and exclusively deals with the rehabilitation of narcotic addicted persons as required by their contract. Such condition should be documented in each client to the satisfaction of county authorities.
2) Program must cease all practices that have been found to be specifically practices of the Church of Scientology and which may only be practiced by a recognized minister of the Church of Scientology. (example - use of E-meter in student auditing, use of training materials copyrighted by the Church of Scientology).
3) Program must eliminate all restrictive admission policies listed in the legal contract for Narconon Rehabilitation Program that are not in accordance with standard admission policies for Short-Doyle clients receiving mental health services.