Drug rehab center opens Saturday at Arrowhead
By Rhett Morgan
August 17, 2001
CANADIAN -- A drug rehabilitation center known worldwide for its successes will celebrate its grand opening on the banks of Lake Eufaula.
State Sen. Gene Stipe, D-McAlester, will cut the ribbon for the Narconon Arrowhead Drug Rehabilitation & International Training Center at a ceremony at 7 p.m. Saturday, said spokeswoman Sally Falcow.
The gala will represent a changing of venue for Narconon, which had operated since 1990 from the Chilocco New Life Center in Newkirk.
Located on the former Arrowhead Resort, Narconon Arrowhead will have a staff of 110 and an annual payroll of more than $3.1 million, Falcow said. It will house 230 beds, an increase from the 105 at Chilocco, she said.
Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers use treatment methods developed by best-selling author and founder of the Church of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard, who died in 1986.
The organization has 100 centers in 29 countries and claims to have successfully rehabilitated tens of thousands of addicts in more than 35 years of operation.
Narconon Arrowhead President Michael Anzalone will be Saturday's master of ceremonies, and the program will include a tribute to Narconon graduates and their families.
Grammy-nominated singer Maxine Nightingale is scheduled to sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful," Falcow said.
Nightingale, an ex-heroin addict, is a graduate of the Narconon program who was treated in Los Angeles, Falcow said.
The opening of Narconon Arrowhead met with some resistance. In June 2000, the state Health Department had refused a request by area property owners to reverse a decision that eventually turned the Arrowhead Lodge into the treatment center.
Then-acting Health Commissioner Jerry Regier upheld the certificate of need granted to Narconon, saying there wasn't good cause for reconsideration.
Arrowhead Estates trustees, who said they represented more than 1,300 property owners, wrote a letter to Regier in May of that year asking him to reconsider the certificate because of their concerns about security.