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Media Articles - 1990s

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12 January 2003
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State Denies Drug Center Conspiracy

The Daily Oklahoman,
November 6, 1990

Claims of a conspiracy within the state mental health department in handling of a certification application from a controversial drug treatment program are unfounded, a department spokeswoman said Monday.

Representatives of the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center on Monday said they have discovered a predated letter in the files of the mental health department notifying Narconon that the program's certification has been denied.

The Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is not scheduled to discuss Narconon's certification until Thursday. The letter, dated Nov. 12 and addressed to Narconon Chilocco president Gary Smith, is unsigned.

"We have finally found our smoking gun," Smith said. "This hearing coming up is basically a sham."

"There definitely is a conspiracy here."

But mental health spokeswoman Rosemary Brown said the letter was routinely prepared in anticipation that the board would follow the agency's staff recommendation that Narconon not receive state certification.

"There's nothing sinister here. It's simply a time-saving measure to expedite the notification procedure," Brown said.

If the board rejects the staff's recommendation and certifies Narconon, a new letter will be prepared, Brown said. The board concurs with staff recommendations "more times than not," she said.

The drug and alcohol treatment center has come under fire for its ties to the Church of Scientology. Narconon officials deny that the center is affiliated with the church, although it receives support from the church and its treatment methods were developed by church founder L. Ron Hubbard.

The staff recommendation was prompted by Narconon's failure to allow an independent review team to inspect the center's "non-traditional" treatment techniques at the center, Brown said.

Smith claimed the team included "religious and racial bigots," who were predisposed to rule against the center, which is located on the grounds of the old Chilocco Indian school in Kay County.

Brown said claims by nearby residents of harrassment by Narconon employees, the center's failure to pay contractors and the absence of Narconon staff members at a state training seminar also contributed to the staff's negative recommendation.

Smith claimed the conspiracy to deny certification involves "the department of mental health or someone in it."

"We will research and investigate until we find out who's profiting from people being on drugs. ... We are going to do whatever it takes to expose those individuals who do not want people free of drugs," he said.