What is Narconon?
Why Criticise Narconon?

Last updated
24 October 2002
Contents > What is Narconon? > Why Criticise Narconon?


You have every right to ask questions about this statistic. But don't you think it is wonderful that we may - just may - be able to help 76% of the drug addicts? Why do you fight that?
[Personal e-mail to Gisle Hannemyr, circa August 1992 - <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=GISLE.92Aug14223226%40gyda.ifi.uio.no&oe=UTF-8&output=gplain>]

Narconon's supporters have, from time to time, attacked their critics for their temerity in opposing Narconon. Why, they ask, would anyone oppose a civic-minded group caring for some of the most vulnerable people in society? In fact, it is precisely because drug addicts are so vulnerable that Narconon's claims need to be examined with such care. The effects of drug abuse are devastating, for the individuals, their families and society in general. Drug abuse can and often does break up families and relationships; individual drug addicts may suffer serious health problems, both from the effects of the drugs themselves and from the practices associated with drug abuse (for instance, sharing needles); and society as a whole suffers from the wave of crime resulting from addicts needing to fund their habits and from the activities of drug dealers. The stakes, where dealing with drug abuse is concerned, are immense - the lives and welfare of potentially everyone who comes into contact with a drug addict are at stake.

This makes it all the more important that when drug abusers are treated for their addiction, the treatment should be effective. Treatment costs money, and money - whether it comes from the public purse or private pockets - is often scarce. Ineffective treatment is thus not only useless, it is worse than useless; money spent on useless treatments is money taken away from more effective treatments. This means that any drug rehabilitation therapy must address two questions: Does it work? Can it work?

In Narconon's case, there is strong evidence that the answer to both questions is "no". Critiquing Narconon is therefore not simply about "bashing" a worthy group; it is vital if drug addicts are to get the treatment they so desperately need, rather than wasting time and money on ineffective pseudoscientific "therapies". If there was no doubt about Narconon, such a critique would not be needed - but there is doubt, and it is only right that such doubts should receive a fair hearing. Unsurprisingly, Narconon itself chooses not to mention facts or views which contradict its own statements; this website aims to fill that gap.

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