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Media Articles - 1990s

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Narconon Shifting To Training Role

By Michael McNutt

Daily Oklahoman
January 15, 1992

NEWKIRK - Barred by the state from accepting new patients, Narconon Chilocco New Life Center is opening its campus to train people interested in working at similar drug and alcohol treatment centers.

Twelve trainees from Narconon facilities in Europe, Canada and the United Kingdom are enrolled at the center north of Newkirk, Gary Smith, Narconon Chilocco president, said Tuesday.

Another 15 to 20 people are scheduled to arrive later this month, he said.

Several Dallas area and northern California people who are interested in starting a Narconon facility are planning to take courses at Narconon Chilocco, Smith said.

"An international drug and alcohol rehabilitation training center is a significant part of the overall development plan for the Chilocco campus," Smith said. "Each person who is trained at Narconon Chilocco is then able to return to their Narconon or open a new Narconon center."

In addition to Narconon Chilocco, Narconon International has 25 Narconon facilities overseas, two residential programs in California, and an outpatient treatment center and drug education program in Boston.

Guy Hurst, an assistant in the state attorney general's office, said he is unaware if the unlicensed treatment center is violating any state law by offering training courses.

The Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse refused last month to certify Narconon Chilocco's treatment program. The board said the program is medically unsafe and experimental.

Narconon Chilocco has appealed, and has filed court papers asking a Kay County district judge to set aside the board's decision and allow it to remain open.

Narconon attorneys asked the state mental health board to approve its plans for a 75-bed facility. It eventually wants to handle 150.

Narconon Chilocco earlier was unsuccessful in getting an Oklahoma County judge to allow a former patient to return to its facility. Lawyers for Narconon Chilocco are expected to file a similar request with another judge.

Meanwhile, the number of patients has fallen from 27 on Dec. 13 when the mental health board made its ruling to 16, Smith said.

Patients pay about $20,000 apiece for a three-month course.

Faced with no revenue from new patients, Narconon Chilocco now charges to train staff members.