In the 8 months I spent at Narconon Southern California, I witnessed about 60 clients enter the program. The vast majority of these clients relapsed either while enrolled at Narconon or soon after graduation. In fact, several of the staff members relapsed while working at Narconon and Narconon Southern California admitted for treatment numerous staff members from the Narconon facilities in Northern California and Oklahoma who had relapsed while working at those facilities. It is not only misleading but also extremely disturbing that Narconon would make such claims as to their success rate with no proof what so ever to back it up. In fact, overwhelming evidence exists to counter Narconon's claims evidence showing that their treatment program does not work.
Narconon Southern California now advertises on their website a study they conducted over the last 3 years that further supports their unfounded claim of a 80% success rate. I can say with no uncertainty that this "study" of theirs is loaded with mistruths and lies. They claim numbers that are impossible to verify. This totally unscientific, biased, subjective study of theirs reflects no truth with regards to their claims of success. The numbers I witnessed in retention and relapse rates among Narconon clients at the Southern California facility while I was enrolled and employed there make their numerical claims completely impossible.
Narconon makes further dubious pronouncements concerning their program's coverage with insurance companies. Clients are required to pay the $20,000 enrollment fee up front and promises are made that most insurance companies will reimburse the patient. Most insurance companies, however, do not cover Narconon because the insurance companies consider Narconon untraditional, unproven, and unsuccessful treatment. My insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of California, personally never reimbursed me. Even though my bosses at Narconon were aware of this, I heard them promise other Blue Cross Blue Shield members on several occasions that BC/BS did in fact cover their program costs.
These are lies that cost vulnerable and desperate families tens of thousands of dollars each.
Why is I that Narconon so aggressively pursues a policy and practice of deception, lies, and manipulation? Simply put, Narconon is no more than a fundraising and recruitment tool for the Church of Scientology. Narconon patients are heavily pressured in to become staff members upon graduation. The pressure comes in emotional, mental, and financial forms. When I returned to Narconon as a patient in December of 2000, I was immediately put to work at the Narconon facility as a "detoxification specialist". I had no medical training, was not at all familiar with how to care for and treat people detoxifying from drugs and alcohol, yet worked several hours a day performing such duties. I had added to my list of duties computer work because of my background in the Internet. Working 12-hour shifts as both a detoxification specialist and online marketer for Narconon, I spent no time working on any of the methods Narconon claimed would help my rehabilitation. Concerned over this and the financial situation I was falling in to being unable to get a job or support myself, I was pressured by Narconon staff members to sign a contract to work for them.
Already having worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for no reimbursement from Narconon and being told my work on their behalf was part of my "rehabilitation program", I had no money and my family was having trouble supporting me.
Finally, Narconon staff members told me working long-term for them was the only solution and the only way I would get paid for the work I was doing. Hesitantly but succumbing to intense pressure from the staff at Narconon, I signed the 5-year employment and obligation contract so as to finally get reimbursed for the work I had already done for them. Furthermore, I was told that it was my duty to work for them. Narconon staff members told me I would relapse if I went to work anywhere else and tried to live life on my own. They told me I was indebted to them for my sobriety and therefore owed them at least several years of work. Such intense pressure tactics were commonplace in getting graduates of the program to sign on for long periods of employment with them.
Why would Narconon place such value in getting its graduates to work for them? For one, becoming a staff member for Narconon subjects one to the heavy scrutiny, oversight and control of the senior Narconon staff members. Staff members are distanced from their family members and friends, made to live either at the facility or in homes with other Narconon staff members, and constantly under the watchful eye of senior staff members. Narconon Southern California would rent out small apartments and place upwards of six to eight staff members in them to live. Graduates of the program who went on to work for Narconon and stayed sober did so only through fear of the severe repercussions of relapse. When a staff member of client of Narconon uses while at Narconon or uses after graduating and then returns to the program they are placed on a punishment program consisting of physical labor, indentured servitude, moral degradation, and heavy work.
The main reason Narconon goes to such lengths to get graduates to work for their program, however, is because that is the tool Narconon uses to funnel money and people in to the Church of Scientology. Staff members who wish to earn more than $50/week must take "training courses" at the local Church of Scientology facilities. Rather than receiving training in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, substance abuse treatment or other such fields, Narconon staff members take regular Church of Scientology courses for which Narconon pays thousands of dollars to the Church of Scientology. Staff members must buy textbooks and pay for Church of Scientology auditing courses, as well as the "e-meters" that are used in these auditing sessions. I refused to take these Church of Scientology courses and requested permission to take courses at a local community college instead. I received open and outright contempt and pressure for choosing to take non-Scientology courses because I did not play in to their financial schemes of raising money for Scientology. The financial records I had access to as a staff member made obvious and evident the fact that of the $22,000 clients pay for so-called "treatment" at Narconon, more than half of that money goes to the Church of Scientology either directly, or through the Scientology-run Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE), which owns the trademark to Narconon. Notice that ABLE's official address is 6331 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028. The Church of Scientology headquarters' address is also 6331 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
Narconon clients pay money for their "treatment", and these moneys are used to send staff members to the Church of Scientology for "training". The Church of Scientology wins on two fronts: hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in course fees as well as new recruits in the form of Narconon graduates turned staff members turned new Scientology church members.