Narconon Rehab Review

As always I continue researching other alternatives and different approaches to drug rehab in general, one that we haven't talked about here is Narconon. We also haven't paid much attention to it in the last number of years. I remember it coming onto my radar many years back when some guy was trying to talk me into offering the Narconon programme at our rehab. We were really busy at the time and I broached the subject with my boss and he flat out laughed and said not in a million years. As I said we were really busy at the time and I forgot about the whole thing with out asking him to explain.

Well in the last day or so I started researching Narconon rehab reviews and the program in general. I always knew it was Scientology based and that was enough for me to stay well away from it. Basically in my opinion any religion that was built on the writings of a science fiction writer who even George Orwell called a "Nutjob"  is probably best to give a wide berth to.

So until now I never really paid much attention to it. As you may of read on this blog I have a good deal of respect for some of the religious based rehabs. If you are already geared towards that particular religion and believe in it, then why not use it as another tool to assist in your recovery? Some of the Christian based drug rehab programmes produce good results and if it is a 12-step program where step one basically involves surrendering to a higher power it sure makes it easier to do that if you already have a strong belief in God, providing the centre is also doing proper counselling with trained staff.

Personally I have no religious beliefs and am very open about that. I however do respect other peoples religious and spiritual belief system and am happy for them if it makes their life more complete providing it doesn't intrude on others. ie: Jehovahs Witness please don't knock on my door!

So lets look at my Narconon rehab review. First let me get it off my chest, "THIS ALL SOUNDS INSANE!"

Ok opinion out of the way with, lets look at the facts, what they say and why I felt I needed to scream that in upper case letters.

Narconon Rehab Reviews - What They Say Addiction Is

Well thats the thing, they don't say what they believe addiction is, or is not. They describe in detail, in their opinion, how someone gets addicted to drugs or alcohol but never state what addiction is. They go on about drugs like THC, LSD, MDMA and others being fat soluble and building up in your system and staying there for years. Also about leaching calcium and vitamins from your body. They go on in depth about their detox programme, which we will get into in a bit, but I have not been able to find anything that states what they believe addiction is.

Lets look at an example from ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) NOTE: ASAM is not associated with Narconon

**Short Definition of Addiction:** Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviours. Addiction is characterised by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioural control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviours and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

Ok defined as a chronic disease of the brains reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. I feature this as I believe until you define something, or at least state a theory, you don't have an ability to treat it or "fix it" if you will. How could you? You haven't even decided what the problem is yet.

Narconon Rehab Review - How to treat Drug Addiction

If you have read much on my blog you will know by now I am big on evidence based approaches. Basically if you can't prove that it works and back it up with proper scientific fact and testing with repeatable results then it should be regulated to research studies and not used on the general public until proven safe.

So how does Narconon treat addiction? It is at least a 3 to 5 month programme and they start with their version of a detox. Remember above I said I would get into their detox program? Well it seems this detox programme that Narconon offers is 100% drug free and they do your detox with huge doses of vitamins, supplements and marathon 4 and 5 hour sauna treatments. They do not allow any drugs to be taken at all during the detox. So weening off is out of the question and if you go there you are going cold turkey.

I have also stated on here I have seen a large number of people go through detox and realistically only a small percentage needed a medical detox, many drugs you can go cold turkey on and just suffer a miserable week or so. There are exceptions though and the potential repercussions for the exceptions can include silly, pesky little things that get in the way, like death.

NOTE: I am not a doctor, if you are, or even think you are, physically dependent on any drugs or alcohol, speak with your doctor about your best course of action and take His / Her advice over anything I say, if not satisfied with your doctor get a second or third opinion.

So many people can go cold turkey but what if a person is highly physically dependent on Benzodiazepine? The most common ones being Xanax and Valium for examples. Going cold turkey after long term use of benzos is not only discouraged it is flat out dangerous.

From MedHelp: Link no longer exists

14. IS COLD TURKEY (ABRUPT, TOTAL DISCONTINUANCE OF THE DRUG) AN ACCEPTABLE METHOD OF WITHDRAWING FROM A BENZODIAZEPINE? **No**. There is nearly complete uniformity of opinion both in the medical profession and in the benzodiazepine recovery community that cold turkey is a dangerous and unacceptable method of withdrawal. Cold turkey withdrawal may cause seizures, and is also associated with a higher probability of withdrawal psychosis. Seizures are almost non-existent in those employing a taper method, with the limited exception of people who have taken a benzodiazepine for a seizure disorder. Furthermore, psychosis is rare in those who taper their benzodiazepine slowly. There is a misconception that cold turkey withdrawal, though it may cause more severe symptoms, will bring about a faster remission of symptoms. This is based on the idea that a slow taper "prolongs the agony of withdrawal." This notion is erroneous. In fact, there is some anecdotal evidence that cold turkey withdrawal may lengthen the course of the withdrawal syndrome, and may even cause the Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome.

So there is nearly a complete consensus that cold turkey is a bad idea in the medical profession, but I guess L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer and designer of Scientology knows better then the combined knowledge of all the doctors and specialists. After all according to him we are all immortal and omnipotent beings that just forgot we are gods, right? For 500 bucks though he can show you the way back to your true self.

There also seems to be a considerable number of deaths related to the Narconon Rehab Program, according to TheFix there was 7 deaths at the flagship Oklahoma Arrowhead centre in 2005 alone. THATS 7 DEATHS AT ONE FACILITY! In only one year!  Add to that in 2012 the death of 20-year-old Stacy Murphy, 21-year-old Hillary Holten and 32-year-old Gabriel Graves all at the same centre.

Narconon also claims 120 centres worldwide on their website, I can only find about 70 listed on that site though. Still if 10 people died at one centre alone, what is the total death toll across all the centres?

Narconon is also strongly against psychiatry and the use of drugs for psychiatric disorders and have been reported to take clients off their prescribed medications from their psychiatrists and primary care physicians alike. On the belief of a science fiction writer and people without medical degrees?

They also believe that relapse is caused by the build up and release of residual drugs in the fatty tissue of your body, there is no scientific proof at all that this is true. Then again they are dealing in faith, not fact, so they can disregard little things like scientific principle and evidence based treatment.

They are also claiming a 76% success rate but I can't find a copy of the independent study that proves that. I can tell you this if I was running a centre and we had a study done that showed a peer reviewed and independent study on my past clients with a 76% success rate! I would be plastering that all over the internet and making it the easiest thing to find.

From There website on Narconon Success Rates

The Narconon Program has **one of the highest success rates** in the field of drug rehabilitation, with outside studies showing the **great majority** of the graduates going on to lead stable, ethical, productive drug-free lives. These results are hard earned by the students, addressing many factors of one's life, both physical and mental. It is this success that has led to the large expansion of the Narconon network over the past 47 years.

Note what they are saying and the highlighted words, one of the highest success rates and the great majority. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing, they are subjective terms with no way to qualify or quantify them. It is 'marketing speak' for, "were the best but can't prove it."

To break that down more, "one of the highest success rates in the field of drug rehabilitation" Well so is absolutely everyone else, and everyone else is also one of the lowest, depends where you put the line for what a high one is and what a low one is. 0 could be the starting point of "one of the highest" for all we know. Also unless you have researched all the other centres how would you know where you fit into the bell curve?

"Great Majority", again not quantifiable. What are you calling a majority? Terms like this are meant to confuse and make it sound like they gave you an answer when they didn't. Great Majority, that must be really high right? No not at all.

Please read my article on Drug and Alcohol Success Rates if you want to understand why they mean, basically nothing.

Narconon Rehab Review - The Centres

Now onto the Narconon centres, as I said above they claim 120 centres, I can only find 70 listed on their website. Lets look at their staff compliment and who are working at their Flagship centre Arrowhead in Oklahoma.

Not a single word on the website about who works there and who will be treating you! The only name in fact listed on the About US page is L. Ron Hubbard. The science fiction writer and inventor of Scientology, who is dead so I would be surprised to find him working there.

You can see what I mean at the link below, I have intentionally broken it an added the (dot), replace that with a . I don't want to backlink my site to theirs and give them any boost in the search engine rankings. I will go through a few other centres below using the same tactic so you can check for yourself

narcononarrowhead(dot)org/about/

Ok maybe they just didn't know how to build a website properly, so lets look at a couple others. 

All the way over to Australia at getoffdrugs(dot)com.au/about-drug-rehab-centre/our-team

Notice in the URL it says OUR TEAM right, so we should get some people and learn who we will be treated by and what their qualifications are.

Many Drug and Alcohol  Rehabilitation Programs are staffed by people  who don’t necessarily  have first hand experience of what it is like to have a Drug and Alcohol Addiction problem. Most of the staff that are delivering our Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program have had their own journey battling Drug and Alcohol Addiction. The majority of our team have completed our program themselves and successfully handled their own Drug and Alcohol Addiction to an excellent result. They have first hand knowledge of what one is going through as an addict and what it takes to thoroughly Rehabilitate someone. The difference with our team is that people coming to us with a Drug and Alcohol Addiction feel comfortable to open up and communicate what problem lies underneath their Addiction. We understand, so they feel more confident that we are able to help them. In addition we have Drug and Alcohol certified staff  on site. We also have a Doctor that we work with closely to ensure our clients are medically fit to undertake our program.

Not a single name, not even one. WHY? What are they afraid of?

Now lets look at Cliffside Malibu, only because you may have heard of them, not an endorsement or anything from me. Just lets look at their site. I am willing to link to them, go take a look at this link , it will open in a new window, take your time, I'll wait.

I see your back, what did you see there? A whole list of people with medical degrees and other qualifications. Now I know most of them are probably not there full time, but here is what I can guess, they work with the centre when needed and are willing to attach their name to it. Why does no one seem to want their name on a Narconon website? Or does Narconon not want you knowing who works there? Either way it stinks, especially at the flagship facility.

Update: 15 June, 2018: The following statement in blockquotes is inaccurate as they changed their website and removed all the names of the people working there. You can check their reviews here.

Another Narconon facility, **SunCoast Rehabilitation Centre** in Florida does list their staff and has a Medical Doctor as the director. - CEO - Tammy Strickling - Medical Director - Dr. Brent Agin, MD - Registered Nurse – Margery Spinoza - Counsellor - Thomas Garcia - Counsellor - Janice Smith - Program Manger - Richard Taylor So they do list their people and the credentials look good, however I would not be willing to recommend them to anyone due to the Narconon Rehab affiliation. Looking at the qualification of their staff if they got rid of the Narconon aspect and used an evidence based treatment approach they could potentially have a good program. I am actually surprised on this one that a board certified MD would go along with it. Maybe they changed it up some?

Narconon Rehab Review - Conclusion

In conclusion of my rant on Narconon Rehab Review, personally my opinion is stay well away from it. Detox should be medically supervised and many people have reported that Narconon is nothing more then an indoctrination program into Scientology.

If you want to follow the religion of a science fiction writer then I have no problem with that. For all I care worship the all powerful oak tree or the omnipotent beaver, up to you, if it makes you happy have at it. What I do have a problem with is a religion promoting themselves as a primary treatment centre. You can't "pray away cancer", many have tried. If you are going to call drug addiction a disease, it is categorised as a disease by the American Psychiatric Associating as Substance and Related Addictive Disorders, then faith has no part in primary treatment.

The difference between Evidence Based Treatment and Faith Based Treatment is that Evidence Based Treatment uses scientific principle and adapts and gets better as  new research and evidence becomes available. Faith Based Treatment on the other hand continues on the same path regardless of the evidence.

Ten people died at one centre! That says everything that needs to be said.