Actress Blasts Narconon Decision
December 15, 1991
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Actress Kirstie Alley, the most visible spokeswoman for Narconon's Chilocco New Life Center, said the state Mental Health Board had a hidden agenda when it rejected the facility's certification.
"It is an unconscionable attempt by the representatives of vested interests to stop a truly effective program that saves lives," Ms. Alley said in a statement released Saturday.
"The board's decision can only have been reached by people who have practically no regard for the lives of drug addicts and who are set on keeping society on drugs."
The board voted 6-0 against Narconon's certification on Friday. Board members also voted 5-1 to stay an order denying certification for seven days.
That would allow for the orderly removal of the clients at the facility backed by the Church of Scientology.
"We'll be appealing this decision immediately on behalf of the many clients in the program right now, some of whom are court-ordered from many parts of the country," Narconon president Gary Smith said Friday.
Ms. Alley, a star of the television program "Cheers," has praised Narconon's program and has traveled to Oklahoma several times to speak on behalf of the center.
"I myself effectively dealt with drug addictions over 12 years ago through the Narconon program," she said. "It helped save my life."
But some board members raised questions about the uses of saunas and megadoses of vitamins in the Narconon program.
The 75-bed Narconon center has been operating near Newkirk just south of the Kansas border for over a year.
The Mental Health Department staff has twice recommended against certifying the program. The state board followed that recommendation once, but an Oklahoma County district judge ruled the Mental Health Department staff was biased against Narconon.
The board then selected Tulsa psychiatrist John Chelf to evaluate Narconon. His report, presented to the board in October, questioned the effectiveness of treating drug or alcohol addicts with saunas and vitamins.
Ms. Alley, unwavering in her support of the program, accused the board of bias.