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Media Articles - 1990s

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7 January 2003
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Drug Center Accredited - Narconon Chilocco Cleared for 3 Years

Saturday Oklahoman, 9 November 1996

A drug and alcohol abuse center that fought for two years to get approval to operate in Oklahoma has received its third straight accreditation from a private firm.

The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities approved a three-year accreditation for Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, Gary Smith, the center's president and executive director said Thursday.

The certification from the Tucson, Ariz.-based commission runs until June 1999. Narconon was notified of the action by Donald E. Galvin, the organization's president, in a letter to Smith.

The commission's survey team inspected Narconon Chilocco's facilities in September, Smith said.

"The program at Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, although nontraditional in its approach to the treatment of alcohol and drug problems, nonetheless demonstrates a high degree of effectiveness," the final survey report said.

The report was made after two days of inspections and interviews of clients, treatment and medical staff.

"The detoxification regimen in particular is unique and well organized and the comprehensive services delivered by the medical team are quite impressive," the report said.

Narconon Chilocco uses saunas, vitamins and a special diet as part of its three-month treatment. The plan was developed by the late L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology.

"Three-year accreditation is the highest award given from the nation's leading accreditation body in the rehabilitation field," Smith said. "It is quite a validation of the quality of care we offer." Residents in Newkirk spoke out at several public hearings against Narconon Chilocco because of its ties with the Church of Scientology.

Narconon Chilocco, with 26 employees, has been operating quietly for several years.

"We've been focusing on what we came here to do originally, getting the program developed and getting folks in the program," Smith said.

State mental health officials called Narconon Chilocco's treatment program unsafe and experimental when the center applied for a state license in 1989 after it set up operations at the old Chilocco Indian School north of Newkirk.

State mental health officials eventually voted to exempt the facility from having its treatment program certified by the state because it was accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

Narconon Chilocco is licensed by the state Health Department, which is based primarily on whether a facility's buildings meet fire and safety codes.

Smith said state health officials this summer made a surprise inspection of Narconon Chilocco.