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Media Articles - 1990s

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12 January 2003
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State Seeks Closing Of Treatment Center Lack of License, Certification Cited

The Okhahoman, Oklahoma
July 31, 1990

NEWKIRK - Oklahoma officials filed papers Monday seeking to close a substance abuse center near here that has been operating for the past several months without state certification or licensing.

A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 14 in Kay County District Court on whether a temporary injunction should be granted to shut down the Narconon New Life Center, said Kay County District Attorney Joe Wideman.

Wideman said Narconon has been treating patients since February, but still has not sought certification from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health or licensing from the Oklahoma Department of Health.

And, contrary to Narconon's statements, Wideman said most of the patients being treated are non-Indians.

"The state of Oklahoma has a strong interest in assuring that health care services are being properly provided to all residents of this state," he said.

Wideman said operators of the facility face misdemeanor charges for operating an alochol and drug abuse treatment center without state approval.

Officials with Narconon, which has ties with the Church of Scientology, have said the state lacks authority because the facility is on Indian land and has been treating only Indian patients.

But they also told state officials they planned to voluntarily apply for state certification and licensing. It has applied for licensing from the health department, but has not applied for certification from the mental health department, which must approve the program before the health department can issue a license.

Narconon spokesman Gary Smith said the treatment center's lawyers will meet today with health department officials.

Wideman, in papers filed Monday, said the state has authority over Narconon, despite its location on Indian land.

Narconon is "neither owned nor operated by Indians," Wideman said.

"Their facility is primarily treating non-Indians."

The certification process with the mental health department could include a public hearing if requested by residents in the area. Some residents oppose Narconon's center because of its ties with the Church of Scientology.

A former patient said he left Narconon because of its unorthodox approaches to treating drug addicts and alcoholics. He said during six days at the facility he did drills and drank a supplement called "Cal-Mag."

He was being prepared for the next step, up to five hours daily in a sauna, when he left.

Narconon officials said the patient, a cocaine and heroin addict who went through three other programs before signing up at Narconon's three-month plan, did not stay long enough to allow the treatment plan to work. They said that others who went through the program no longer are dependent on drugs or alcohol.