Narconon Loses Bid To Stay
By Michael McNutt, Enid Bureau
The Daily Oklahoman,
Friday, January 31, 1992
An unlicensed alcohol and drug treatment center has lost its bid to remain open while it appealed a state board's ruling that its treatment program is medically unsafe and should be shut down.
Oklahoma County district Judge Leamon Freeman denied a request from Narconon Chilocco New Life Center to remain open and accept new patients because the facility never has been licensed. The center has been accepting patients since February 1990.
Freeman on Wednesday (Jan. 29) said he could not issue a stay order because the center was not licensed before the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services voted last month to deny certification.
Guy Hurst, a lawyer in the state attorney general's office, said Thursday (Jan. 30) it was unclear what action state officials would take. It is clear the facility cannot accept new patients, he said.
Narconon Chilocco's financial director said the center could close if it cannot immediately start admitting new patients.
Lawyers for Narconon Chilocco on Thursday (Jan. 30) filed a request in Oklahoma County District Court for a permanent injunction to prohibit state officials from closing the facility, six miles north of Newkirk.
Harry Woods Jr. said the motion was filed before District Judge John Amick, who last month left in place a restraining order allowing Narconon Chilocco to remain open after the state mental health board voted to deny certification.
Board members also had voted to have Narconon Chilocco closed within a week, saying they feared for the safety of the 27 patients then at the facility.
Board members said Narconon Chilocco's treatment program, which relies heavily on vitamins, sauna and exercise, was medically unsafe and experimental.
Lawyers for Narconon Chilocco have filed appeals in Oklahoma and Kay counties.
If Freeman had upheld Narconon Chilocco's request for a stay, it would have allowed the center to accept up to 40 patients and operate until the appeal was decided.
A hearing is scheduled next month in Ponca City on the state's request to shut down Narconon Chilocco because it is operating without a state license.
Barred from admitting new or former patients since Dec. 13, the center is unable to earn money and is being forced to scale down its operation to stay financially afloat, according to an affidavit signed by the financial director for Narconon Chilocco.
The center recently started training staff members for other Narconon centers, but the revenue is considerably less than that from patients, who pay an average of $21,000 for a three-month program, said Maureen St. Amand.
St. Amand said Narconon Chilocco owes creditors $328,000. Contributions and fees raised from training staff fall far below the facility's $172,000 monthly operating expenses, she said.
As of last week, Narconon Chilocco had 15 patients, but eight are Indians who are receiving free treatment, as provided in the center's agreement to lease the old Chilocco Indian school.
"Without the immediate reinstatement of Narconon's ability to enroll new students at Chilocco, the facility will have to close for lack of revenue," she said.