MARK PALMER. M.D.
August 14, 1989
Robert W. Lopsinger, Publisher
Dear Mr. Lopsinger, [sic]
I have reviewed material supplied to me concerning the proposed alcohol and drug treatment program (Narconon) to be established on the previous Chilocco Indian School Site. As a previous Medical Director of two alcohol and drug rehabilitation units, I feel I am qualified by training, interest and experience to comment specifically on the proposed treatment center's so called Purification Rundown. The Purification Rundown is apparently either all or part of Narconon's initial detoxification program. The seventeen page document describing the Purification Rundown is in general a poorly written program. There is extremely poor organization. The material is full of generalizations that have no substantiation in fact. There are internal inconsistent statements. There is no documentation. The Purification Rundown is somewhat patterned after many reputable detoxification programs in which diet, exercise, education and behavioral modification are used. But due to the above mentioned deficiencies as well as several outright untruths, I think that it is fair to say that the Purification Rundown is without merit.
While the entire bulletin describing the Purification Rundown is completely full of the above mentioned problems, I will try to illustrate some specific ones that seem the most glaring. On page 165 the author states "apparent gain occurs by cleaning up the body and can be seen as an end all in itself, this is not the case". And on page 166 the author states "removal of these live hostile chemical substances from the body of any person apparently speeds and in some cases even makes possible case gain. It is even worth doing for its own sake". These two statements are not consistent with each other. On page 167 the author states "the purpose of outside running is so that impurities held in the system can be released and are pumped out". There is certainly no scientific documentation that exercise significantly speeds up the detoxification process.
A significant portion of the Purification Rundown is devoted to running and Sauna Treatments from four to five hours a day. The author states throughout, that sweating increases the rate at which drugs in general leave the body. This is certainly untrue of many drugs, as most drugs of abuse are eliminated from the body by detoxification through the liver, or by passage through the kidney, or occasionally by passage through the lungs. Although minute quantities of some drugs may appear in the sweat it is such a small fraction of drug elimination that no matter how much a patient were made to sweat it could not significantly increase his clearing of most drugs. On page 169 the author states "there is no such thing as a fat cell". This is absolutely false and can be disproven by any college student who has had a course in Histology. The author's recommendation for taking Vegetable Oil to replace the oil in our fat tissue that are contaminated with drugs has no documentation or basis in fact. Perhaps the most blatantly false statement made in the entire document occurs on page 172 when the author states "niacin's biochemical reaction is my own private personal discovery in the middle of the 1950's. Niacin was discovered several decades before the 1950's and its importance and multiple biochemical reactions have been studied from that to until present. The author further goes on to state "niacin runs out radiation" and that it will often cause a very hot flush and prickly itchy skin which can last up to one hour or longer". There is no scientific documentation that niacin in any way gets radiation out of the body. The symptoms of which the author talks are due to dilation of the blood vessels of the skin and is a known side-effect of niacin administration.
In addition there are aspects of the program which I find medically unsafe. Specifically running in a vinyl sweat suit followed by a Sauna from 140 to 180º from four to five hours a day certainly is going to cause dehydration and possibly heat injury in some patients. The author even notes this on page 168 when he discusses sodium chloride and potassium replacement, stating "it is not mandatory for every individual on the program, it is only necessary as a treatment if the symptom of salt depletion, heat exhaustion occur". This suggests that the author expects that in many cases heat exhaustion will occur. Any treatment which leads to heat exhaustion is unsound and unsafe.
The author further states "before beginning the Purification Program a person must first get a written medical officer OK". It seems quite apparent that medical officer does not equate with medical doctor or physician as the author on page 177 goes on to say "the medical officer gives a person an OK to go on to the program after insuring the person's blood pressure is normal and he is not anemic. The medical officer does these checks himself where he is trained to do so". Therefore, it seems medically unqualified persons are going to be supervising this program which I think is quite dangerous.
While a drug free society is a worthwhile goal of any institution, when the initial entry into this program, i.e. the Purification Rundown is filled with so many false generalizations, internal inconsistencies, outright lies, and potentially dangerous treatments, I think it is without question that it will be a detriment to the Newkirk area, Kay County, and the State of Oklahoma as a whole.
While I have limited my criticism to the Purification Rundown program of Narconon, I have also reviewed documentation of Narconon's association with A.B.L.E. and to the Church of Scientology. In general, it appears to me that the overall program being advocated by Narconon is nothing more than a poorly disguised program for obtaining recruits into the Church of Scientology to begin their processing, programming, brain washing. While at the same time obtaining federal and state funds as well as private and public insurance companies to support their cause. For all these reasons I would strongly encourage much more intensive investigation by those responsible for further licensing of this proposed institution.
C. M. Palmer, M.D.