Court Sets Aside Order; Narconon to Stay Open
By Michael McNutt
June 17, 1992
A permanent injunction to close an unlicensed drug and alcohol treatment center has been temporarily set aside by the Oklahoma State Supreme Court.
The action allows Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, north of Newkirk, to continue to treat patients.
The court's stay will remain in effect until it acts on an appeal filed by Narconon International, Narconon Chilocco's parent organization, and the Tonkawa tribe, or pending any further order.
The high court also granted Narconon Chilocco's request to seal some of the contents contained in its appeal application, according to an order signed by Chief Justice Marian Opala. The other justices concurred.
The order was issued in conference on Monday. Narconon Chilocco officials said they found out about the ruling on Tuesday.
"We're very happy about that because that allows us to continue to operate and get Native Americans on the program and not have any interference with our drug rehabilitation delivery," said Gary Smith, Narconon Chilocco president.
The stay will remain in effect until the Supreme Court makes a decision on an appeal contesting the permanent injunction issued against the facility last month by a Kay County judge.
Narconon Chilocco and the Tonkawa tribe went to the state Supreme Court last month seeking an emergency stay and a new trial on the issue of whether a permanent injunction should be issued to close the center.
Lawyers for the Oklahoma State Department of Health are seeking to close Narconon Chilocco because it never was licensed.
Narconon Chilocco wants a new trial because the Tonkawa tribe last month formed an agency to govern treatment programs on Indian land and last week the center was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, a private Arizona organization.
The Tonkawa tribal agency has given Narconon Chilocco a 90-day conditional license.
District Judge Neal Beekman last month issued a permanent injunction ordering Narconon Chilocco to close. The state health department sought the injunction because Narconon Chilocco never was licensed and lost its bid for state certification.
Narconon Chilocco began accepting patients in February 1990. The State Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in December denied certification of and ordered the center closed and its patients transferred.
Narconon Chilocco appealed in Oklahoma County District Court seeking to overturn the state mental health board's decision. A ruling is pending.