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Media Articles - 1990s

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12 January 2003
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Narconon Chilocco Officials Object to Choice of Evaluator

The Daily Oklahoman,
March 6, 1991

Officials of a substance abuse center are objecting to a Tulsa psychiatrist picked to evaluate it.

Gary Smith, president of Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, said he is concerned over the selection of Dr. John Chelf by the Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to make a report on whether the facility should be certified.

Smith said Tuesday he has information that Chelf last year worked with Dr. L. Dwight Holden, who is a member of the state board.

Also, Smith said he is concerned why Chelf turned down a request last fall from Narconon Chilocco to evaluate its program as the facility gathered information to show state officials why it should be licensed and certified.

"At that time, Chelf was contacted by one of our people and a request was made that he would come out here and do a subjective evaluation of the program and his statement was that he didn't want to do it because it was too controversial and he didn't want to get involved," Smith said.

Smith said he is curious why Chelf now is agreeing to be the state's independent inspector.

"We just want to make sure that everybody is non-partisan and that the evaluation's going to be an objective thing," Smith said.

Smith said he and others representing Narconon Chilocco will attend Friday's meeting of the mental health board in Oklahoma City. The state board is barred by a court order from inspecting the center.

The board in December named Chelf, a board certified psychiatrist specializing in the area of addiction, to review and report on Narconon's program.

Chelf was given the freedom to make an evaluation of Narconon by himself or ask help from experts not employed by the mental health department.

No timetable was set for Chelf to inspect the facility and make a report.

Chelf so far has not visited the facility, Smith said.

Narconon Chilocco in November successfully blocked board members from reviewing reports from an earlier state inspection, claiming the documents were biased against the facility because of its ties with the Church of Scientology.

Mental health board members then proposed naming the agency's advocate general, the person who represents complaining patients of mental health and substance abuse facilities, but reconsidered after Narconon objected because he is a department employee.

An Oklahoma County associate district judge in November ruled the department was biased against Narconon.

The ruling came a day before board members were scheduled to act on certifying the facility's program, which has been questioned because of its emphasis on saunas and vitamins, a method devised by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology.