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Media Articles - 1990s

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12 January 2003
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State Seeks to Curb Narconon Center

The Daily Oklahoman,
June 28, 1990

NEWKIRK - State health officials, concerned that patients are being treated at an unlicensed substance abuse center, have asked local authorities to intervene until its program is certified and licensed.

District Attorney Joe Wideman said lawyers for Narconon Chilocco New Life Center confirmed that Indians have been treated at the center but saw no problem because it is on Indian land and is not subject to state regulations.

"They said the only knowledge that they had about it was Indians at the time (being treated). ... They said they didn't think the state had any licensing power over Indian activities on Indian lands," Wideman said.

Brent Van Meter, a deputy commissioner at the state health department, said the health department considered Narconon to have consented to state authority when it applied for and received a certificate of need from the department.

Narconon officials did pick up a license application Wednesday morning, Van Meter said.

He said the center, located at the old Chilocco Indian School, can't be licensed until its program is certified by the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Meanwhile, members of the Chilocco National Alumni Association have passed a resolution stating Narconon officials misled them by using the campus as a recruiting center for the Church of Scientology.

The resolution also asks the Chilocco Development Authority, which leased the land to Narconon, to consider more appropriate ventures for the campus and to insist that Narconon discontinue using the name Chilocco.

"When representatives of Narconon first spoke to us," the association's board of directors said in a position statement, "they said they had no connection to the Church of Scientology. Today, they recruit freely on the campus of Chilocco."

Narconon officials told The Oklahoman last week that some Indians already were being treated. The center's official opening is set for Friday.

In a press release issued last week, Narconon officials said that "although Narconon is situated on Indian land and is therefore not subject to state regulations, Narconon officials do not foresee any problems with the licensing procedures due to the high standards maintained by the program."