1. Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.

Drug rehab centre run by Scientologists

By Docta, Apr 16, 2012 | | |
  1. Docta
    A Toronto mother is speaking out about a Quebec treatment facility she sent her drug-addicted son to, which turned out to be run by Scientologists.

    "I feel fooled. I really thought they were going to be able to help me. And help him," said Yvonne Keller. "Instead, they just put this kid right back where he started from."

    In December, Keller paid $10,000 to send her 22-year-old son Daniel to a Trois-Rivières treatment centre, which is part of the Narconon group.

    Its website does not make it obvious, however, Narconon uses the teachings of Scientology in its treatment facilities. It has former addicts in every Canadian city answering the crisis lines and doing intakes. Narconon has several facilities worldwide, but the main one in Canada is in Trois-Rivières.

    "I don't want my money going to that church," said Keller.

    A week after her son arrived at the treatment centre, Narconon staff rejected him from the program and put him on a bus back to Toronto, penniless and alone. Keller hasn't been able to get her money back and said her son is now back on the street.

    Sent home by bus

    "They had my son in their care for six days and basically put him on a bus … which frustrated me greatly," said Keller. "I speak with [Daniel] every day now and basically he is homeless."

    Keller said before she sent her son to Quebec, she could find no public treatment available for him in Ontario or any other province. She said lack of treatment beds has been a huge obstacle for years.

    "It's horrible. You feel broken. You feel helpless. Powerless," she said. "I can't go to my own country and get help for my own child for these problems in regulated and safe institutions."

    She was referred to Narconon by a self-help line run by former addicts. In desperation, she said she paid a Narconon "interventionist" $2,500 and bought plane tickets for him to take Daniel to Quebec.

    "I had to put [the $10,000 initial treatment fee] on my credit card, and that's what I did," said Keller.

    While Daniel was at the treatment centre, Keller said he harmed himself by cutting his arms with a knife and he managed to get access to rubbing alcohol, which he drank.

    "He was supposed to be under 24-hour supervision, which clearly he wasn't," said Keller. "An addict who is in a withdrawal unit needs to be extremely carefully supervised and I'm not sure they were capable."

    Son didn't qualify

    Andre Ahern, director of legal affairs at Narconon Trois-Rivières, said Keller's son simply didn't qualify for the program, because when he arrived he was in a psychotic state. He said the facility is set up to treat addictions, not mental illness.

    "We are very sorry for him. We are very, very sorry for him. But you know what, we are not responsible for his condition when he came — for sure," said Ahern.

    He said Narconon had to choose between sending Daniel home or calling police, because he was very disruptive. As soon as staff agreed to let him go home, Ahern said, Daniel settled right down.

    "We made sure when we put him on the bus, he was cooled down," said Ahern.

    He said he is a Scientologist and that Narconon uses the teachings of Scientology in its program. However, he said, that is simply because they are extremely effective.

    "Since 2002, I have seen 1,200 [addicts] graduate drug-free," said Ahern. "We are not looking at what is politically correct, we are looking at what gives good results."

    However, former Narconon employee David Love said the facility is simply a front to recruit vulnerable people into Scientology, while collecting fees — up to $30,000 for the whole program — from the addict's families.

    "The idea is to get them to Narconon. Once they're in and their mother, their father, their family has paid thousands of dollars, or the whole $30,000, once they get them in, that's the key," said Love.

    It's a cult: ex-staffer

    "The indoctrination into Scientology begins when you arrive at Narconon … It is 100% cult sect." he said. "Religious indoctrination, right out of the Scientology textbooks."

    Scientology essentially teaches that humans are immortal and need to find their true nature. The Church of Scientology is also controversial, because it's been accused of being a cult that mistreats members while taking their money.

    Scientology also does not support psychiatry or medication, so Love said addicts who go to Narconon treatment centres are not given any prescription drugs or conventional treatment.

    "There was one patient, a young fellow, and they took away his meds and he jumped out the second-floor window and tried to commit suicide," said Love.

    He said families and addicts who call the number on the Narconon website will likely speak to an ex-addict, who is paid to recruit people into treatment.

    "These people who are running these websites, if they refer directly to Narconon, they'll receive 10 per cent for the $30,000 Narconon fee — so they'll get $3,000."

    He said it's not unusual for addicts to get sent home on a bus, if staff can't control or indoctrinate them.

    Ahern said he doesn't track what happens to most people after they leave the Trois-Rivières program, however, he said he only knows of three people who converted to Scientology. He also said staff tell patients they are free to practice whatever religion they chose, while there.

    "It's a non-medical, non-religious, drug-free rehab centre – it's the only thing I can say," said Ahern. "Every student … you have the right to practice your religion, any religion you have."

    As a result of CBC News inquiries, Ahern promised Yvonne Keller will soon get all or most of her $10,000 back, after the paperwork is processed.

    "She will get her money back for sure," he said.



  1. chinpokomaster
    If she feels so bad about him being homeless, why doesn't she put him up?
  2. alienesseINspace
    Has anyone had a positive experience with Scientology at all ever? Aside from celebrity ranting and raving, I only have heard that the organization takes advantage of people. I also wonder why the money was invested in such a program when the mother could have decided differently. I find this article to be depressing because many religious organizations capitalize on addiction treatment. Much profit is available to be made off the recovering addicted populous... clearly it is shameful.
  3. Alfa
    We have a narconon treatment center near here, and its a dump. Their whole system is aimed not at recovery in the first place, but at gathering income and indoctrination.
    Recovery means sauna, learning their doctrine, being read by their 'E-meter' machine, working for them, taking bizarre amounts of niacin, etc.
  4. fentanylrehab
    Narconon is SOOOOO much more pushing scientology on its patients then whats led on here..ITS SO REDICULOUS.YOU WOULDNT BELIEVE THE stuff they have you do.
  5. Alfa
    Please explain.
  6. Woody.Brown
    I used to work for a small charity which got paid by Narconon to 'provide' people for it's treatment programme, and they would be sponsored by a private donor. It was all done behind the scenes and 'off the record', something which us front line staff had nothing to do with. Ironically, the founder and chief executive, of this charity were exposed for misusing 'charitable donations' and financial misdoings - go figure.

    Those who went off to Narconon were either never heard of again, having become fully-fledged advocates of the programme or came out in a worse place (mentally/emotionally/spiritually/drug-use increased) than they went in. I was told that the idea was similar to 'concept houses', where the group strip you of your personality through character assassination, then overtime, attempt to rebuild you into a healthier being (by whose standards I ask??!) What often happened, was that people were broken, then left prematurely, but had no coping strategies left following their experiences in treatment.

    A few years back, I was looking my local centre (for reasons I can't remember), the contact name was someone I used to know (from this job I mentioned earlier) - I emailed him, saying hi etc... he responded saying that he has very little memory of his life before going into Narconon. Make of that what you will.
  7. Emin
    Wow, this is truly a travesty. I had no idea Narconon had roots in Scientologist. This country (or world) needs to put tax money into drug detox and recovery programs. I bet my bottom dollar that the money we save from police and medical intervention would pay for this type of program.
  8. Phenoxide
    To play Devil's advocate is this really any worse than a rehab facility being operated by any other religion? Isn't the whole 12 step program philosophy basically a thinly veiled way to draw vulnerable people into Christianity via character assassination (e.g. encouraging them to declare that they are helpless and have no control over their life or addiction)? Doesn't that philosophy also leave people without coping strategies if they decide not to embrace God and leave the program?
  9. brendog
    i was read with an e-meter once(just for fun, yeah I'm a weirdo) my understanding is its essentially psychotherapy with an extremely primitive lie detector. such fuckin pseudoscience at best. a really interesting watch is scientology's film psychiatry an industry of death. if you can watch it with an open mind you might sift some interesting facts from it, but it is also obscenely paranoid and ridiculous. but then again l.ron was a schitzo, and what schizophrenic doesn't mistrust shrinks.

    also it's a fact, that like most cult leaders that don't permit their converts to use drugs, L.Ron was a drug addict.

    My apologies. I guess I just used that term in an insulting way towards him because of my distaste for the man. I wasn't trying to offend people with schizophrenia, I just hate religious cult leaders. I didn't mean to offend people with mental illness. i've had many people in my life with mental illness. i guess I'm just not that offended by words. I wouldn't care if someone called me a alchy or junkie( I'm not anymore). I've had people refer to me in many disparaging terms like crackhead or misogynist( of which i've never been either)
    I just let them be ignorant.
  10. Alfa
    Yes, there is a major problem with the rehab industry. This industry deals with extremely vulnerable people and religions/cults exploit this industry to get access to vulnerable people.
    This includes Scientology and Christian cults. If we would remove all religious rehabs from the rehab index, then about 60-70% would be removed. So, yes its a major issue.

    There is quite a difference between a general 12 step program, and a Christian cult and Scientology.
    I think its safe to say that people have no idea what they are getting into when they enter a recovery center run by Scientology or a Christian cult.

    Getting into rehab should be a step to get out of trouble. With religious cults, addicts instead are exposed to issues they could never have imagined to be faced with. This includes:

    • accepting a new reality
    • indoctrination
    • socio-dynamics that come with being part of such groups
    • strict rules which often breach moral and personal boundaries
    • pressure
    • stigma/taboo against non-partakers of the cult
    • in the case of Scientology: the 'disconnection' policy, which imposes severance of all ties with those who may be critical of Scientology, especially family members.

    An issue that is going on on the internet is that multibillion investment corporations have been buying up almost all recovery websites & online forums, to exploit advertising revenues. These investment companies will refer people to the rehabs that pay the most. Not to the best recovery centers. They gladly take the commissions that Scientology pays.

    I feel that this is a very important topic, and we need to have wiki articles on Narconon / Scientology and also 12 step and other approaches.
  11. Woody.Brown
    Absolutely, you won't find me arguing with that point. I have some very strong opinions on 12-step principles and the way by which they can be (mis)used to exploit people at a really vulnerable time in their life. These views are based on my own experiences of The Fellowship, bad/sad/infuriating/concerning experiences that I'm happy to share if anyone is interested in getting a debate started?

    In the world away from my laptop I often engage in conversation about this issue as it's easier to discuss face to face. Here at DF, I've so far been hesitant to say too much as I appreciate that many have previously, and continue to gain much support from both religion and 12-step meetings for their substance related difficulties, and I'm not always online enough to back-up/clarify my comments or respond to people who may react strongly to something I've said. However, if we can all accept that everyone's opinion is as valid as the next, regardless of whether we agree or not, then we should be good for a thorough, healthy and varied trip through the ins & outs of all things 'Anonymous' ? :yes-no:

    The care co-ordinators (people who obtain funding for accessing rehabs) at my previous drug service travelled all over the UK, visiting many of the residential treatment centres available, in order to give clients accurate information to help them choose which will be most suitable. After my assessment there were two criteria we had to work with - they said I must go to a female only rehab, and my requirement was that it was not a Christian OR 12-step ethos. Out of all the rehab providers on their books, I was given a grand total of two to choose from. The 12-step philosophy makes up such a large percentage of treatment options in the UK (and elsewhere I'm sure?!), that if the model doesn't sit well with you, then your options really are limited.

    Tis a real shame..

    Woody x
  12. MrG
    Health officials shut down Narconon drug rehab centre

    Treatments based on Scientology

    By CATHERINE SOLYOM, The Gazette April 18, 2012

    Health officials have ordered the Narconon rehabilitation centre for drug addicts in Trois Rivières to evacuate and relocate its 32 residents, citing concerns over procedures that "may represent a risk to health" and a lack of doctors on staff.

    Following an investigation into the centre's activities by the Centre Québécois d'agrément, an independent body mandated to monitor quality in health care, the agency for health and social services for the Mauricie Region said Tuesday it does not intend to certify Narconon.

    The centre, among the largest of 50 Narconon centres in 22 countries, bases its treatment on the teachings of the Church of Scientology, headquartered in California, giving its "students" high doses of niacin and having them sit in saunas for about five hours a day. The rest of the treatment consists of "training routines" based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, in which patients perform the same tasks over and over.

    Residents in Trois Rivières paid $25,000 to $30,000 for their treatment, which lasted on average three to five months.

    Marc Lacour, the director of the Mauricie Health and Social Services Agency, said he had received several complaints about the centre in the last few months. But the agency's decision not to certify was based on visits to the Narconon centre in February, and the recommendations of a national committee of experts convened in March to discuss the case. Though the centre has been in operation since 2005, it was only this year that certification by the agency became mandatory for all rehabilitation centres, Lacour explained.

    "The criteria (for certification) relate to safety, sanitation, nutrition, insurance, administrative practices, an ethical code and the approaches and techniques used by the centre," Lacour said. "The approach used by Narconon is not recognized in Quebec, and it was mainly on that basis that the agency decided to relocate its residents."

    Most of the residents, Lacour said, are from other provinces of Canada, particularly British Columbia, and the United States. Most have been relocated to other Narconon centres south of the border.
    Lacour said Narconon has 10 days, as of April 13, to comment before the agency makes its final decision on certification. Narconon also has 60 days to appeal the decision at the Tribunal administratif du Québec. In the meantime, Narconon will no longer be able to operate in the Mauricie region.

    "For sure, if we came to this conclusion (about Narconon), we worry about what may be happening elsewhere," Lacour said, adding Narconon has been banned in France.

    David Love, a former patient and staff member of Narconon in Trois Rivières who has been tirelessly campaigning against the organization since he left it in 2009, saw the closing as a victory, but not the end of his mission.

    Love has filed a complaint against Narconon and the Church of Scientology with the Quebec Human Rights Commission. André Ahern, the director of legal Affairs for Narconon Trois Rivières, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

  13. Alfa
    I have started a wiki article on Narconon
    Please add to it.
  14. VagabondWraith
    Just a quasi inflammatory opinion, but anything that has one iota to do with Scientology is immediately discredited as an obviously raging, loony farse in my humble opinion. It's such an obvious business as well, that uses the hypocritical, insane ravings of a certifiable whackjob as it's dogma.

    In regards to the others, I don't know about any of the other 12 step programs besides Al Anon, but, everyone I personally know, to a 'T', that's gone through AA 'successfully', ended up sober, yes, but sacrificed many vestiges of sanity in the process and became nauseating to be around for any length of time now. I have an uncle who went through it, and he's simply traded alcohol addiction for obsessive compulsive, loony, self-righteous religious claptrap, and is actually harder to be around and tolerate than when he was inebriated with gallons of booze.

    I would love, however, to actually see a truly supportive, successful, non-brainwashing, non-programming, non-automaton recovery program that doesn't tweak with your base personality and humanity in the process, and that leaves you both physically AND mentally healthy.
  15. Docta
    Well in all truth the religion of Scientology doesn't preach anything more or less believable than any other religion. I did not post this thread to create a forum for religious vilification or to highlight the activities of a particular faith.

    I posted this thread to draw attention to the proliferation of underlying agenda and commerce in the drug rehab sector.

    A drug rehab center that has only the good of the patient as is agenda seems unlikely without independent oversight.
  16. VagabondWraith
    ^^ I gotcha. But the ulterior motives inherent behind so many rehab programs have the said effects. And unfortunately, the vast majority of rehab programs (at least around here) do have the ulterior motives you speak of, in the guise of religion. That's all. The guise could come in any form, as the original intent isn't even good, but it just so happens the most popular modus operendi of programming is religion.
  17. Potter
    I do feel there is a bit of a difference between a christian-cult run rehab and a scientology run center. Most christian run rehabs are pretty explicit in their religious intent, where as Narconon is out right deceitful in being a front organization. Most christian cults that kill a member end up getting disbanded and the responsible parties imprisoned, where as Co$ fights 20 year legal battles attempting to run their accusers int the ground through harassment, threats, and bankruptcy.
  18. kailey_elise
    Al-Anon is actually for those affected by an alcoholic, not by alcohol itself (meaning, wives, husbands, children, etc of an alcoholic). Alcoholics Anonymous is for alcoholics.

    I have a really hard time believing that AA in eastern Massachusetts is really so different from the rest of the free world. Most of the "god-botherers" I've met are generally "pat-pat, smile & nod"-ed at. Sure, some people might thank Jebus for everything right down to the mustard on their sandwich today, but not EVERYONE, not even the MAJORITY, I wouldn't even say MANY of the people I met in AA were like that. At all. I found people who understood what I was going through, who helped me out, who were very nice & got together and did things together without drinking. That's pretty much it. Religion, G/god, Jebsus, FSM - none of this was mentioned or required for me to be a part. Yes, some people go into that "...I thank my Higher Power, who I choose to call God..." bullshit, but that's the only mention I generally hear regarding God. Someone who's REALLY all about God, as I said, was smile & nodded at, as the rest of us moved on to something in reality.

    There are crazy people everywhere, after all. ;)

  19. talltom
    I have not had experience with Narconon or any religious treatment program, but I was in AA for about 3 years. I was a heavy drinker earlier in my life and wanted do do something about it. I followed all the rules, went to the meetings and actually got through the 12 steps. I'd have to say the program worked, in that I stopped drinking altogether during that time. Mostly, I did not find the program excessive, in terms of forcing any particular beliefs, religious or otherwise, on anyone. On the other hand I did get uncomfortable with the constantly-repeated message that "you are an alcoholic, you will be an alcoholic for life, and unless you stay in this program and follow all the steps, you will surely return to alcoholism." One of their stories was that if you have that first drink in San Francisco, you will wake up in New York 3 weeks later, not knowing where you are or how you got there.

    I felt that was an exaggeration. I was also uncomfortable with how AA emphasizes forming your social life around the organization; in fact making it the center of your life, recruiting others, etc. Anyway, after 3 years I felt I could have a drink without going off the deep end. So I had a rum and coke, and stopped after one drink. That was decades ago and I have been able to drink moderately ever since. I guess by AA's definition, I was not an alcoholic, because real alcoholics can not "drink moderately". It's either nothing or off the deep end.

    Having said that, however, I'm not critical of AA. Unlike what I have read about Norconon, I think AA does good for many people. That's based on a 75-year track record since AA started in the mid-1930s. Sure, as in any group some are zealots and go overboard with the "higher-power" and self-righteous stuff. But most were like Kailey described -- they are people who want to be friendly and helpful. And they did help me moderate drinking while not stopping it altogether. So I'd say, for many, they are a good alternative to programs like Norconon or residential treatment programs that charge you $30,000 or more for a month's stay.
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!