Lawmaker Will Oppose Drug Center
August 31, 1989
A state legislator said Wednesday he will fight a proposed drug treatment center in his district because of its ties with the Church of Scientology.
"I'm doing everything I know how to stop this development," said Rep. Jim Reese, R-Deer Creek.
Reese said he has received material that called Scientology "the most dangerous religious cult in America."
"I've contacted and expressed my current concerns to every individual and entity in state government that I felt might be of assistance in the matter," he said.
Reese said he has been told by state Department of Mental Health officials "there definitely will be" a public hearing held in Newkirk as part of its certification process for the Narconon New Life Center, which plans to operate a 75-bed facility at the old Chilocco Indian School.
"I've also been assured that certification does consist of thorough review of rehablitation methods," he said.
Reese, who has not visited the Narconon center, said he opposes it after reading material that links Narconon with the Church of Scientology, and because of widespread opposition to the facility from residents in the area.
Reese said he was like most of the townspeople in Newkirk who were unaware the Church of Scientology was affiliated with Narconon until after January, when Narconon received a certificate of need from the state Health Planning Commision.
Newkirk town officials have written state officials asking them to deny Narconon's request for licensing and certification this fall.
Reese said he also plans to review a 25-year lease signed by Narconon and the five Indian tribes that comprise the Chilocco Development Authority.
The legislator, whose district includes Newkirk and Chilocco, said he also plans to talk with leaders of those tribes - Kaw, Ponca, Tonkawa, Otoe-Missouria and Pawnee - to see if disclosures of Narconon's ties with the Church of Scientology changed their opinion.
Since the lease was signed, leadership in two of the tribes, the Ponca and Otoe-Missouria, have changed.