My letter to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:
I am writing because I have a question about an endorsement I read about here:
This page is one of many maintained by Narconon, a front group of Scientology which purports to address drug and alcohol addiction with its spurious, dangerous and expensive treatment program. Narconon has a history of claiming the support of groups such as Concerned Black Clergy and the Red Cross. When queried, these organizations have denied lending their support to Narconon or any other Scientology front group. The bit I am concerned about on this Narconon website is the following claim, "Assistant U.S. Surgeon General, retired, Dr. Emery Johnson has also put forth many efforts to fight substance abuse and endorse effective treatment. Dr. Johnson has been involved with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as well in its efforts to reduce the substance abuse epidemic through grant-making projects. One treatment program that continues to expand and help more in need is the Narconon® Program. With multiple locations in the U.S. delivering effective education and rehabilitation services and operations in 33 countries worldwide, the center of the Narconon network is Narconon Arrowhead, located in Southeast Oklahoma. Dr. Johnson speaks highly of this program and has said, "True rehabilitation means the repairing and reclaiming of broken lives and relationships; the commitment to mend these broken lives is clearly evident at Narconon." Johnson continued to comment by saying, "The facilities at Narconon Arrowhead have set a new standard for the rehabilitation field." Could this possibly be true? Mention is also made on this page of C. Everett Koop, in a way that suggests his support of Narconon as well. Here's what Dr. Koop had to say about the same theories of detoxification as Narconon. Question. Have you heard about a new book called "Diet For a Poisoned Planet," which claims that nearly 100 foods are unsafe to eat because they contain dangerous levels of pesticides? Answer. "Yes, I read that book. I was amazed any publisher would publish such trash. And that's the best word I can think of. There is really nothing scientific about it. It is a hodge podge of misinformation added to selective bits of old information to prove a thesis that's unprovable. The premise of the entire book is flawed..." Question. What about the author's detoxification advice? He credits L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology with some of the theories he recommends. Answer. "My recommendation about detoxification is to keep away from it. You don't need it. I'm not sure it does what this book describes. It's dangerous. I don't think L. Ron Hubbard has credibility in the scientific world. The author's suggestions about detoxification can be detrimental to your health. " - C. Everett Koop, M.D. I find it hard to believe that an eminent physician could possibly endorse the Narconon program. The theories behind Narconon's program were being taught to children in public schools. After a review of the material, California educators expelled them from the classroom. Hawaii and Boston schools followed suit. There are some excellent, well researched websites addressing the Narconon issue, if you're interested. http://narconon-exposed.org http://stop-narconon.org are well-researched, well cited, and very informative. I am curious as to whether or not Dr. Johnson is aware that he is listed as endorsing Narconon's drug rehab program. Thanks for your time.
Thank you for your inquiry. The work of the Addiction Prevention and Treatment team is to improve the quality of treatment people with substance use disorders receive by helping providers use evidence-based practices - those practices that have been scientifically proven to be effective. To the best of our knowledge, we have not funded NARCONON and do not fund any one particular type of treatment program.
Dr. Johnson served as a member of our National Advisory Committee for one of our national initiatives, Healthy Nations. The goal of the Healthy Nations program was to help Native Americans reduce substance use in their communities. The program ended in 1997. We are not aware of the alleged comments made by Dr. Johnson and I would suggest that you get in touch with him directly if you have questions about his thoughts on NARCONON.
All the best,
Kristin Schubert, MPH
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Route 1 and College Road East
Princeton, NJ 08543
"Imagine a church so dangerous, you must sign a release form before you can receive its "spiritual assistance." This assistance might involve holding you against your will for an indefinite period, isolating you from friends and family, and denying you access to appropriate medical care. You will of course be billed for this treatment - assuming you survive it. If not, the release form absolves your caretakers of all responsibility for your suffering and death.
Welcome to the Church of Scientology."
--Dr. Dave Touretzky