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Media Articles - 1990s

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8 January 2003
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Narconon Officials Accuse Inspectors of Bigotry

The Daily Oklahoman,
3 November 1990

Representatives of a controversial drug treatment center on Friday accused inspectors who recommended the state deny certification to the center of religious and racial bigotry.

"We are outraged," said Gary Smith, president of the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center in Kay County.

A review panel has recommended the state Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse deny certification for the treatment center, which has been operating without state approval for the past several months.

Smith said that recommendation was based on "biased, false, distorted information on Narconon."

Mental health department spokeswoman Rosemary Brown said the agency would not comment on Narconon's allegations of persecution. A decision on the staff recommendation will be made by the board, which is scheduled to meet Thursday at Fort Supply.

"We were hoping that we would have an orderly process of discussion of this at the board meeting," she said. "We prefer not to discuss it outside that setting where everything is on the record and official."

The drug and alcohol treatment program has come under fire for its ties to the Church of Scientology. Narconon officials deny that the center is affiliated with the church, although its treatment methods were developed by church founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Smith said Narconon will do "whatever it takes" to continue its battle against drug abuse at the center on the grounds of the old Chilocco Indian school north of Newkirk.

When asked if that included renewing their effort to prove that the center should not be subject to state certification because it is on Indian land, Smith repeated, "Whatever it takes."

Dennis Clarke, president of the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights, which he said was co-founded by the Church of Scientology, said the leader of the inspection team should not have been appointed because he had demonstrated a prior bias against Narconon and American Indians.

A report based on two on-site inspections made in September showed Narconon Chilocco received a 70 percent grade on required standards, good enough for a provisional license.

Smith said the center was downgraded because of trivial problems.