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Media Articles - 1990s

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3 December 2002
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Narconon Wins Accreditation

By Michael McNutt

Sunday Oklahoman
June 13, 1992

NEWKIRK - Narconon Chilocco New Life Center should now be accepted by state officials because it has won accreditation from an approved agency, the president of the center said Friday.

Gary Smith said state officials should drop efforts to close his center because of the one-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

"We just want to resolve the thing," Smith said.

But Guy Hurst, an assistant state attorney general, said state law requires drug and alcohol treatment facilities to be certified, not just accredited.

"Just because you're accredited doesn't mean you're certified," Hurst said.

Hurst said the Arizona organization's accreditation will have no bearing on the state's efforts to close Narconon Chilocco because it never was licensed and the state board of mental health and substance abuse services denied certification for its program, calling it experimental and medically unsafe.

Narconon Chilocco has appealed the state mental health board's decision and has sought protection from the State Supreme Court to not allow a Kay County judge's order to shut down the facility to take effect.

The state Supreme Court last month issued an order postponing the permanent injunction imposed by District Judge Neal Beekman that would close the center, located on the campus of the old Chilocco Indian School.

The stay will remain in effect until the high court makes a decision on Narconon Chilocco's appeal contesting the permanent injunction.

In a letter dated June 8 from Alan H. Toppel, executive director of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

Narconon Chilocco is told it received a one-year accreditation from the private agency based in Tucson, Ariz.

It said the accreditation is an indication of Narconon Chilocco's commitment "to improve the quality of the lives of people with disabilities. "

Toppel did not return telephone calls Friday to explain what his agency reviewed to accredit Narconon Chilocco.

According to the Commission on Accreditation on Rehabilitation Facilities, 14 states have adopted formal positions supporting accreditation. Oklahoma is not listed as one of those states.

Smith said several states automatically certify a program certified by the Tucson organization.

Narconon Chilocco began accepting patients in February 1990.

After a series of legal delays, the state board of mental health and substance abuse services in December denied certification of Narconon Chilocco and ordered the facility closed.