The safety - or lack of it - of Narconon's programme has been a serious cause of concern for nearly 30 years. As discussed in "Hubbard's Junk Science", the Narconon detoxification programme is based on unproven (and disproved) theories. Unfortunately for Narconon's clients, some of those theories and practices have significant risks and have attracted strong criticism from the medical profession as a result. In this context, it is worth noting that Narconon requires its clients to sign a "Release of Liability, Indemnity Agreement and Contract". An earlier version of this document was examined in the 1974 report commissioned by the California Department of Health:
The most interesting form is entitled "Legal Contract for Narconon Rehabilitation Program." (See attachment.) Among other things this document specifies that the Narconon service "is spiritual guidance not intended to diagnose or treat human ailments of body or mind by other than spiritual means." It additionally specifies that the "service which is subject to this agreement is open to anyone who: a. does not have a purely medical illness which would be curable within the skills of a physical practitioner; b. does not have a history or record of institutionalization in an insane asylum or similar place; c. is not connected with any person or group of known antagonism towards Narconon; d. enrolls on his own determinism and not on orders of any other group or person; e. will use the knowledge gained to help others in the understanding that one has to help others to help himself; f. is willing to abide by the rules governing the program as such may be made known to him in HCO (HCO presumably means Hubbard Communication Office) Policy letters and other authorized publications; g. is not using this service to try to cure an illness."
Item 7 and 9 of the preceding agreement essentially relieves Narconon of any actual or potential legal claim of any sort under any circumstances and in perpetuity. Item 11 "expressly waives the prohibitions of Section 1542 of the Civil Code of California," i.e., certain claims not affected by general release.
["Outline for recovery, House Evaluation" - by Forrest S. Tennant, Jr., M.D., Dr.P.H., Jane Thomas, R.N., Mike Reilly, and Joseph Shannon, M.D., M.P.H. Submitted to Don Z. Miller, Deputy Director, Health Treatment System, State Department of Health, Sacramento, CA, on 31 Oct 1974]
It is worth pointing out that the disclaimer quoted above is virtually identical to its Scientology equivalent, even down to the use of Scientology jargon ("determinism") and references to Scientology policy letters.
There are a number of key concerns regarding Narconon's safety, which have from time to time been major factors in the termination or recommendation of termination of Narconon programmes. These are: