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Media Articles - 1990s

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12 January 2003
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Narconon Center Faces More Hurdles, Officials Say

The Okhahoman, Oklahoma
October 2, 1990

State inspections of a substance abuse center operating the past several months without state approval indicate it earned enough points for a provisional license, center officials say.

But a spokeswoman with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health said Monday that is just one of three tests the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center must pass to win a recommendation for state certification.

"It's a little premature to say they qualify for provisional status," Rosemary Brown said.

Other factors include whether Narconon corrects deficiencies noted by state inspectors, Brown said.

A public hearing will be held next week on Narconon's certification application, she said.

A staff recommendation then will be presented to the State Mental Health Board, which will make the final decision on certification, Brown said.

The state board is to meet in Norman Oct. 18.

A district judge ruled last month that Narconon cannot accept new patients until its program is certified and its buildings are licensed by the state health department.

Brown said she has not yet read the 15-page report made by inspectors who made two visits to Narconon's facility, located on part of the old Chilocco Indian school about six miles north of Newkirk.

However, she said Narconon received a 70 percent grade on required standards and at least 50 percent of the points on other regulations, high enough to qualify for a provisional license.

Facilities must score 100 percent compliance on required standards and at least 70 percent on other regulations to qualify for full licensing, she said.

A provisional license allows the center to operate, provided it corrects problems and deficiencies within 90 days, Brown said.

Gary Smith, president of Narconon Chilocco, called the state's findings "very positive" for the center.

Several people in Newkirk have said they oppose Narconon's proposal to operate because Narconon International, which operates it, has ties with the Church of Scientology.

Narconon, which has been accepting patients since February, did not apply for certification with the mental health department until August.

Narconon contended the facility was exempt from state law because it is on Indian land.