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Media Articles - 1980s

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10 December 2002
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Commission, Chamber, School Board City Leaders Call For State Review Of Narconon Program At Chilocco Indian School North Of Town

The Newkirk Herald Journal (?),
17 August 1989

Newkirk's School Board, City Commission, and Chamber of Commerce have jointly sent a 67 page document to 16 State and National leaders asking them to support a special review of the Narconon-Chilocco drug rehabilitation program and it's connection with Scientology.

The cover letter of the package of exhibits says in part, "Based on this information, it appears that Narconon's primary objective is Scientology recruitment and not drug abuse treatment. Our community is very concerned and we are requesting your help in obtaining a complete review of their operation and the licensing procedure which allows Narconon to operate in Oklahoma. It is signed by the Mayor, the President of the Newkirk Board of Education, and the President of the Newkirk Chamber of Commerce.

The first exhibit alleges that there have been several instances of misrepresentation made by Narconon to the community, and the balance of the package contains individual documents, media reports, and sources of further information that the signers hope will cause officials to take a second look at Narconon.

Mayor Garry Bilger feels that it is pretty well documented that Narconon is a Scientology controlled organization. He points to a ceremony held at Chilocco on April 8, 1989. At the ceremony Bilger observed a representative of the Association For Better Living and Education (ABLE) "donate" at $200,000.00 check to Narconon for seed money to get the project started.

Bilger contends that at the ceremony an obvious effort was made to have everyone believe that ABLE and Narconon were two entirely separate organizations that had nothing to do with each other until then. But Narconon's own promotional material says it is owned by ABLE. And ABLE turns out to be one of the many organizations on the Scientology organization chart.

At a public meeting in Newkirk on May 8, 1989, Mr. Leroy Bridges of the State Mental health Department told a group of about 80 people that there would be "no Oklahoma patients" treated at the facility, except for a few indigent Indians. Mr. Bridges also said that no state money would be involved. But a document in the package, written sometime before July 1988, allegedly by Mr. John Duff, president of Narconon International, lists local and Oklahoma people as the top priorities in the Narconon marketing plan. It also lists "State Contracts that pay for beds," as a priority.

At the same meeting, Mr. Bridges told the citizens of Newkirk that Narconon had voluntarily placed itself under jurisdiction of the state for matters of law enforcement and inspection of their program and facilities. However, a letter from Sheriff Glenn Guinn included in the package says, "As I understand it. I have no authority on Chilocco land. Everything at Chilocco comes under the F.B.I., and we have one F.B.I. agent in this area stationed at Enid."

The document allegedly authored by Mr. Duff also says that it is "essential" to procure state certification and licensing "because we will be providing services to both Indian and Non-Indian people paid through a fee for service, insurance coverage and possible state contracts. State licensing is mandatory for us to be able to accept Non-Indian clientele."

The package sent to the state says, "We find it curious that Narconon wants to be licensed in order to collect on state contracts and insurance policies from people Mr. Bridges has flatly said would not be served at the facility."

Narconon has consistently said it is not connected with the Church of Scientology, but the material in the package sent to the state seems to indicate that except for a "cold turkey" detoxification period, nearly all of the rest of the treatment consists of courses and programs also found on the Church of Scientology's religious progress chart known as "The Bridge To Total Freedom."

City leaders are also questioning the cure rates claimed by Narconon. They consider it an exaggerated figure and say they have seen no data to support it. Several individuals involved in drug and alcohol rehabilitation in this area have said the cure rate for any program is between 15% and 30% at best. Narconon spokesmen have said that the con version rate of Narconon patients to Scientology is, variously, between 1% and 3%, and "under 10%." But an evaluation Team Report made to the California State Department of Health said "it was clear that nearly all the patients hoped to become Scientologists." Other reports from former Scientology members and Narconon patients puts the figure at between 50% and 75%.

Other exhibits contained in the package mailed to state officials consists of charts, news reports from around the country and several foreign countries, a radio transcript, and 13 pages of references for further reading or information which city leaders hope will be enough to convince the state that it needs to take a much closer look at this project before it is licensed for operation in the State of Oklahoma.