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Media Articles - 1990s

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12 January 2003
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New Treatment Center Not Certified, State Says

The Daily Oklahoman,
June 19, 1990

Operators who plan to open a substance abuse center later this month near here have not applied for state certification, said a spokeswoman with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health.

The Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, being developed at the old Chilocco Indian school north of here, cannot operate legally without state certification, Rosemary Brown said Monday.

"State law requires it," she said.

But that has not stopped Narconon from announcing a grand opening gala and other festivities, including bringing in sports and entertainment celebrities, as part of activities surrounding the June 29 opening of the Chilocco facility.

If Narconon would apply for certification now, it is "highly unlikely" certification could be approved in time for the facility's scheduled opening, Brown said.

The certification process "takes a little while" and it also takes time to schedule inspectors to go to the center and review its records and proposed treatment program, she said.

"Ideally, a program that intends to begin operations will contact us and ask for the application forms for certification," Brown said.

The facility, to be operated by Narconon International, a Los Angeles organization with ties to the Church of Scientology, also must be licensed by the state health department.

Jane Pierce, a spokeswoman for Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, said Monday the certification process was "going along fine ... and we're opening."

When told that the state mental health department is awaiting an application for certification, Pierce said she would check with Narconon officials and call back.

A return telephone call was not received.

Narconon, which uses principles developed by the late L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology, has been busy the past several weeks with activities at the Chilocco site.

A powwow was held earlier this month on the Chilocco campus, and the organization sent out releases last week on grand opening activities scheduled for June 29 and 30.

Joe Theisman, a former professional football quarterback with the Washington Redskins, and Native American actor Saginaw Morgan Grant are scheduled to attend.

William Benitez, the founder of Narconon, and Hans Janacheck, described as a senior resources development officer with the United Nations, also are scheduled to give speeches.

Narconon officials said four of 30 existing buildings have been renovated to provide accommodations for 100 clients. The group plans to be able to handle 1,000 people by 1994.

Brown said substance abuse centers that operate without state certification are sent certified letters explaining they are operating illegally and inviting them to become certified.

In the certification process, inspectors with the state mental health department check the treatment program and organizational make-up of the center, she said.

A hearing is optional and will be scheduled if people in the community or a member of the state agency request it, Brown said.