Posted on Sat, Oct. 02, 2004
Subject: News briefs from around California
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Health officials have blasted a free, anti-drug program sponsored by the Church of Scientology and taught in San Francisco public schools.
The program, Narconon Drug Prevention and Education, "often exemplifies the outdated, non-evidence-based and sometimes factually inaccurate approach, which has not served students well for decades," said Steve Heilig, director of health and education for the San Francisco Medical Society.
Heilig said five independent drug-abuse experts helped him evaluate Narconon's curriculum. He did not identify the health professionals, but said four were doctors certified in addiction medicine.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Narconon's lectures often taught students information that is widely dismissed by mainstream medical experts. This includes that drugs, including ecstasy, LSD and marijuana, accumulate indefinitely in body fat, where they cause recurring drug cravings for months or years and that drugs stored in fat cause flashbacks even years after the user quits.
School district officials asked Heilig to evaluate Narconon after The Chronicle published stories over the summer showing that the district's anti-drug instruction rests on concepts that mainstream medical experts generally reject but are embraced by the Church of Scientology.
"One of our reviewers opined that this (curriculum) reads like a high school science paper pieced together from the Internet, and not very well at that,'" Heilig wrote.
A local Scientologist has made presentations to San Francisco students since 1991. At least 34 city schools have hosted the lecturer since 2000.
Clark Carr, president of Narconon International, disputed the findings and emphasized that the Narconon program opposed drugs of all kinds, including drugs used to treat addictions. He accused the medical society of preferring programs that rely on a useless "drug-based medical solution."
SAN FRANCISCO Health officials have blasted an anti-drug program sponsored by the Church of Scientology and taught in San Francisco public schools.
The program is called Narconon Drug Prevention and Education. The director of health and education for the San Francisco Medical Society says the program contains outdated and innaccurate information.
Steve Heilig says five independent drug abuse experts helped him evaluate Narconon's curriculum.
San Francisco schools chief Arlene Ackerman asked Heilig to evaluate Narconon after the San Francisco Chronicle published articles showing it relies on outdated concepts.
But the president of Narconon International disputed the findings and emphasized it's opposed to drugs of all kinds, including drugs used to treat addictions.