Narconon to Get Patients, Official Says
By Michael McNutt
February 19, 1992
NEWKIRK - An unlicensed drug and alcohol treatment center, ordered last week by an Oklahoma County judge to stop accepting new patients, opened its doors Tuesday to three former patients, a spokesman for the Narconon facility said.
Narconon Chilocco New Life Center also plans to accept three or four new patients during the next week, Gary Smith, president of the facility, said.
Smith said Narconon Chilocco can treat those patients because they all are Indians.
Narconon believes an order issued by District Judge John Amick does not pertain to Indian patients because the center is leasing Indian land, the old Chilocco Indian school, Smith said.
All of the patients at Narconon Chilocco belong to the five tribes who own part of the land, Smith said. They do not have to pay for their treatment, according to Narconon's lease with the Chilocco Development Authority, he said.
The new patients are Indians from outside Oklahoma, he said.
Their treatment cost, which averages about $21,000, is being paid by their tribes or by contributions from people wanting to sponsor Indian patients at the center, Smith said.
The state attorney general's office filed a request last week for a contempt of court citation against the center for continuing to treat four Indian patients past the deadline. No hearing date has been set.
Narconon is not planning to treat non-Indian patients while it awaits a May 15 hearing on its appeal of a decision by the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to reject certification of its treatment plan.
Board members said Narconon Chilocco's treatment is medically unsafe and experimental.
Without certification, the center cannot get a license from the state health department.
As an unlicensed facility, Narconon Chilocco is not recognized by most insurance carriers, and patients with alcohol or drug problems are ineligible for coverage benefits.
Smith said non-Indian patients are being referred to Narconon International's program in Los Angeles or to other centers.
Narconon Chilocco, meanwhile, continues to step up its training program. The facility now has 32 trainees, most of whom come from Narconon facilities abroad, Smith said.
Smith earlier said the center could train up to 125 people at once.