Inspectors Pay Visit To Abuse Center
The Okhahoman, Oklahoma
September 26, 1990
Inspectors with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health paid a visit Tuesday to a substance abuse center that has been operating near Newkirk for several months without state approval.
The inspection is an effort by the state agency to comply with a court order to determine whether the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center should remain open.
Inspectors should have reports of their findings prepared about two weeks before the State Mental Health Board is scheduled to meet Oct. 18 in Norman, said Rosemary Brown, a spokeswoman for the mental health department.
Narconon officials will be given the opportunity to respond, and people examining the report can seek a public hearing on Narconon's application to have the program certified by state mental health officials.
A staff recommendation on whether the facility should be certified will be made after Narconon has had a chance to respond, Brown said. Several people in Newkirk have said they want a public hearing on Narconon's proposal to operate. They said they are concerned because Narconon International, which operates the facility, has ties with the Church of Scientology.
Narconon, which has been accepting patients since February, did not apply for certification with the mental health department until last month. Inspectors were planning to visit Narconon in November. But District Judge Neal Beekman, asked by the state Department of Health to close Narconon until the center obtained state certification and licensing, ordered earlier this month that officials should decide on certification at the mental health board's October meeting.
The judge allowed Narconon to operate, but prohibited the facility from accepting new patients until it obtained necessary state certification and licensing.
Thirty-five patients were at the facility at the time of the Sept. 7 hearing, Narconon officials said.
If the facility wins certification from the mental health department, it still must obtain a license from the health department to legally operate.
Narconon delayed applying for either state certification or licensing, contending the facility was exempt from state law because it is on Indian land.