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Media Articles - 1990s

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3 December 2002
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Narconon Patient Says Center Treating Mostly Non-Indians

The Newkirk Herald Journal (?),
5 July 1990

NEWKIRK - John Carraro is a bright, articulate, street smart heroin junkie. Not at all what one would expect of a 12 year needle veteran.

He's 33 years old and he tested positive for HIV virus 5 years ago. He could develop AIDS symptoms at any time, but so far he has been lucky.

John Cartaro is Italian, with a bit of German mixed in. He's from Long Island, New York. He is not Indian.

He's been on a methadone maintenance program for the past year and a half, but says he has occasionally laced his dose with cocaine. He says he wanted to get off the daily methadone routine, and a customer at his parent's record and book store suggested he try Narconon.

That's how John Carraro came to be one of about 15 non-Indian patients who he says were being treated at the unlicensed and uncertified Narconon facility at Chilocco last week.

Carraro says one of the 20 patients at Narconon was an Indian. Of the rest, he says a few were from foreign countries - Australia, for instance. The others were non-Indian Americans just like him.

Carraro was planning his get-away from Narconon the same day that an AP report appeared in the Ponca City News and other state papers quoting Narconon attorneys as saying only Indian patients were being treated at the facility.

"They said the only knowledge that they had about it was Indians at the time (being treated) ... They said they didn't think the state had any licensing power over Indian activities on Indian Lands." said District Attorney Joe Wideman, who's comments were reported in a Daily Oklahoman story last Thursday.

Carraro, who says he told Narconon officials he was HIV positive, became concerned when he found out there were no trained doctors or nurses at Chilocco.

"They did take me to a doctor in Arkansas City for a physical," he said. "You know, the stethoscope on the chest, and we talked about my hernia. They drew blood and did some of the blood work in his office. But the HIV test they had to send off. I guess I won't be around here long enough to find out the results, but it doesn't matter. I've been tested before, and it always comes out positive," Carraro said.

Carraro doesn't know how he contracted the HIV virus. "I had some surgery and a blood transfusion just before they started screening for HIV. But it could have been needles, or it could have been some of the women I used to hang out with. You'd think they would have somebody on the (Narconon) staff who would be trained to deal with stuff like that. All they did was tell me not to mention it to anyone."

Carfare, who said Scientology was never officially mentioned during his short stay at Narconon, thumbed through copies of Hubbard Communications Bulletins. HCOBs, as they are called, are instructions written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to his followers. One of them is called Training and CCH Processes. "Yeah, we did that," he said, referring to the training drills.

"I did up to about (drill number) six. It was insane. That stuff has nothing to do with drug treatment."

He says they told him the drills were supposed to improve his ability to communicate.

They gave him "Cal-Mag," a concoction of oil, vinegar, calcium, and magnesium. "Only we called it 'Cal-Gag.'" He started on two glasses of the stuff a day, then he said they wanted him to increase it to four glasses a day. "All it did was give me the runs," he said.

Cal-Mag is described in an HCOB document called "The Purification Rundown Replaces The Sweat Program," which bears a typed signature reading "The Boards of Directors of the Churches of Scientology", but says nothing about Narconon.

"Yeah, that's it." Carraro said, looking at the document. "They also gave us vitamin pills. They called them Drug Bombs. And they do the sauna thing for 5 hours a day. I didn't get that far."

The vitamin and sauna regimen is also described in the Purification HCOB. The same document suggests that administrators of the program "see that the person understands that the action is being undertaken to help free him as a spirit and is not a medical treatment." It also says they should make no promises.

Carraro told of being offered "touch assists", which are Scientology "physical therapy" routines that are said to relieve the pain and anxiety of an injury or other lamentable experience.

"I saw all that L. Ron Hubbard stuff when I first got there, and I knew something was wrong," Carraro said Saturday morning. "He used to do science fiction stories and started one of those 'new age' religions or something. His picture is all over the place out there."

Friday, Carraro left Narconon by a back road. He took only a couple of bottles of water, and one change of clothes in his backpack. "They had these security guards with walkie-talkies chasing me all around in a field. When they stopped me, they had their clubs out and one of them said he had been told to handcuff me and bring me back, if he had to."

"A guy named Jeff, who is a staff member in training or something, came by and told them to back off." Jeff tried to change Carraro's mind, but finally dropped him off at EZ Mart in Newkirk. John met some local people who put him up over night in the 77 Ranch Motel, and Saturday morning, he contacted the Herald Journal with his story. John Carraro is home in Long Island now, And his parents are relieved.

"The literature we asked for on Narconon didn't arrive until the day after we put him on the plane. When I read 'L. Ron Hubbard', my heart sank. I thought, 'what have I done to my boy'. If I'd have known about that L. Ron Hubbard stuff before, I would have never put him on the airplane." his mother said. The Carraros paid $6,000.00 in advance, with another $4,000.00 due later for John's treatment at Chilocco. The money was in an envelope, sealed inside John's luggage. The Carraros say they intend to press for a refund, and the return of John's belongings.