Letters to the Editor: Narconon responds
San Francisco Chronicle (California)
June 16, 2004
Editor -- Your article on the Narconon drug rehabilitation and prevention program correctly describes certain components of this mainstream social-educational model ("Scientology linked to public schools," June 9). However, your interpretation and oversimplification of the science behind this program does addiction medicine a disservice.
I was asked to be Narconon International Science Advisory Board medical director as a result of having personally treated thousands of people with the Hubbard body detoxification protocol. Literally thousands of enrolling Narconon clients have received medical physicals by me prior to doing Hubbard's sauna cleansing program. Therefore, I can attest to results from extensive direct experience and professional observation.
Additionally, in a seminal case study, I demonstrated, along with other researchers, that the Hubbard method successfully mobilizes drugs stored in body tissues to be excreted in sweat and urine. We presented these results to the 123rd American Public Health Association conference in 1995. Samples of sweat and urine were collected from patients addicted to cocaine, amphetamine and valium on entry into the Narconon treatment program and then every two days during treatment with the Hubbard sauna method. Using a very sensitive assay, we demonstrated low or undetectable levels following a period of abstinence that were markedly elevated during the sauna program.
In a separate review of results, we monitored physical and emotional health in 249 clients enrolled in the Narconon drug- treatment program and showed improvement. Clients reported marked reductions in drug cravings.
The recent Service Research Outcome Study national survey completed by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that our national "success rate" in treating drugs is only a 21 percent average reduction in use. Youth are the unhappy exception, showing a 13 percent increase in alcohol abuse and a 202 percent increase in crack use following treatment.
Given such unacceptable treatment results, it is clear that prevention is essential. I would hope that therapies with sound scientific rationale would be supported. A true expert would not be so quick to discredit an approach that by your own report, clearly gets a positive result.
G. MEGAN SHIELDS, M.D.
Optimum Wellness Medical Group