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Media Articles - 1990s

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14 January 2003
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Psychiatrist Inspects Narconon for State Certification Process

By Michael McNutt

Daily Oklahoman
April 26, 1991

A Tulsa psychiatrist picked by a state agency paid a visit Thursday to a substance abuse center as efforts to get the facility certified resume.

After looking over the facilities, Dr. John Chelf will make a report to the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services on whether Narconon Chilocco New Life Center should be certified.

Little movement has been made in the certification process since last fall when Narconon Chilocco claimed officials with the state mental health department were biased against the facility.

Chelf, appointed by the state mental health board in December, talked with staff members at Narconon Chilocco during a tour of the facility, located at the old Chilocco Indian School, about six miles north of Newkirk.

It was unknown if Chelf had completed his visit Thursday or would return to Narconon Chilocco today for more information, Bruce Pyle, a Narconon spokesman, said.

Narconon is optimistic Chelf will give a favorable review, Pyle said.

"We know our program complies with the regulations and we also know that it works," he said. "What else is there? "

Pyle said Narconon officials hope that Chelf's report could be submitted to the state board of mental health in time for board members to act on Narconon's certification request at their May 10 meeting.

A mental health department spokeswoman said Thursday the agency would know next week whether Narconon will be on the May meeting agenda.

Narconon Chilocco has operated more than a year without state certification.

The facility, operated by Narconon International of Los Angeles, can treat up to 40 patients at a time, according to an Oklahoma County court order, until a decision is made on state certification.

Narconon Chilocco in November successfully blocked state mental health board members from reviewing reports from an earlier state inspection, claiming the documents were biased against the facility because of its ties with the Church of Scientology.

Inspectors with the state mental health department had visited Narconon Chilocco twice and were prepared to recommend a denial of certification to the board when Narconon won a restraining order from an Oklahoma County associate district judge who ruled the department was biased against Narconon.

Narconon applied for certification last summer after state health department officials sought a court injunction to shut down the facility because it had been operating several months without a license.