Despite its troubled history Narconon has now been given an initial go-ahead to open a new facility near San Diego by the county Planning Commission, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Narconon is a controversial drug rehab program closely associated with the Church of Scientology and based upon the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, its founder. It is also largely staffed by Scientologists.

Call Narconon’s toll free number and it is likely you will be talking to a Scientologist.

Hubbard’s concoction for drug treatment includes vigorous exercise, hours of saunas, megadoses of niacin and ingesting cooking oil.

William Jarvis, a professor of public health at Loma Linda University in Southern California once said, “The idea of sweating out poisons is kind of an old wives’ tale. It’s all pretty hokey.”

However, the county Planning Commission apparently didn’t consult Professor Jarvis and either ignored or didn’t take the time to review any other research and/or findings regarding Narconon.

The San Diego Union-Tribune article did not even mention Scientology.

According to the article it appears there was no meaningful discussion at the commission’s meeting about the program’s connection to the controversial church or any of Narconon’s historical problems.

But not discussing Scientology when talking about Narconon is like ignoring an elephant in the room.

Actress and Scientologist Kirstie Alley knows that. She is the spokeswoman for Narconon and touts how Scientology saved her from drugs.

Nevertheless, Narconon was once denied certification for a facility in Oklahoma, though later they managed to open a center in that state.

And a Narconon program for kids was rejected by the Florida school system.

A Narconon program in Utah, which received state funds, eventually caused enough controversy that such funding was stopped.

In Sweden an expert who testified before the Swedish Board of National Health questioned the efficacy and validity of Narconon’s approach to treatment. He concluded, “there is no documentation to show that the Hubbard method of detoxification from drug abuse conforms to scientific standards and medical experience On the contrary, one may from a pharmacological point of view strongly question the idea of using enforced sweating to expel drugs from the body. The risks and side effects of the treatment method have also not been evaluated in a serious way. Methods that have not been evaluated and/or rest on incorrect theories should not be used in Swedish medical care.”

So how could the county Planning Commission in California so easily approve Narconon for a new facility?

Scientology has a powerful lobby in California and a stable of celebrity advocates in Hollywood. Perhaps such lobbying overwhelmed the Planning Commission? The commission voted 4-0 in favor of the facility. One member was absent.

Residents opposed to the proposed Narconon center seemed to object largely due to land use questions and security. They claim the recent approval will be appealed to the county Board of Supervisors. Hopefully, that body will do a better job exploring the facts than the Planning Commission did.


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