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Media Articles - 1990s

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3 December 2002
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Narconon Chilocco Loses State Appeal; Center Requests Exemption

By Michael McNutt

Daily Oklahoman
June 19, 1992

Narconon Chilocco New Life Center has lost its appeal to overturn a state decision to shut down the facility.

Narconon Chilocco plans to appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court and is asking the state mental health board to exempt it from state certification because it recently was accredited by a private Arizona group.

Oklahoma County District Judge Leamon Freeman on Monday upheld the decision by the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to deny certification and licensing for the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

Narconon Chilocco, about six miles north of Newkirk in Kay County, had eight patients as of Thursday. It has been allowed to continue operating because the Oklahoma Supreme Court last week issued a stay that postponed a ruling from a Kay County district court judge that the center be shut down.

Pat Ryan, a lawyer for the state mental health board, said new regulations that take effect July 15 allow some facilities to ask for exemption from state certification if they win accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

The commission gave Narconon Chilocco a one-year accreditation, according to a letter released last month.

Ryan said the state mental health board will take up Narconon Chilocco's request for exemption next month.

"Clearly, this thing is not over," Ryan said. "They're going to appeal this ruling and now they've applied for exception with the board because of their CARF accreditation. "

In his ruling, Freeman said he found improper action by some members of the state mental health board as members reviewed Narconon Chilocco's request for certification as a 75-bed facility late last year. The board held a public hearing in October and heard additional evidence in December before ruling Narconon Chilocco's treatment program was medically unsafe and experimental.

The state board ordered Narconon Chilocco closed, but the center, by filing numerous court appeals, has remained open, though its level of patients dropped from a high of more than 40 last fall to single digits this month.