Source documents
Media Articles - 2000s

Last updated
10 December 2002
Contents > Source Documents > Media Articles - 2000s

Scientology horse pills for drug withdrawal

Tagesanzeiger Zurich, Switzerland
by Hugo Stamm
16 September 2000

Scientologists lure addicts with drug withdrawal flyers from Narconon. A Zurich woman fled the rehabilitation center before she was scheduled to.

They go looking for customers in the Zurich drug scene and distribute flyers on public land: Narconon's staff, Scientologists as a rule, seek clients who are ready for withdrawal and to enter therapy. One of the people dazzled by the fantastic promises of success from the Narconon people was a 45-year-old Zurich woman with alcohol problems; she agreed to go into the Narconon Center at Waldstatt, AR, for six months of rehabilitation.

"It was not until after a week that I noticed that the center had something to do with Scientology and was applying Ron Hubbard's methods," she said. When she brought that to the attention of the director, Barbara Volkart, she said the director denied there was any connection between Narconon and Scientology. Narconon President Ursula Suess asserted, in contrast, that their participants are told that Narconon works with the methods of the Scientology founder Hubbard. The fact is that the word "Scientology" does not appear anywhere on the flyers, in the documents or on the internet home page.

Although the woman was critically disposed towards Scientology, she did not stop her therapy, but persisted in it. She hoped for physical and mental recuperation from the special Purification program, which Narconon propagates as a "miracle program." But first, the Zurich woman had to do exercises for four weeks which are similar to the Communication course by Ron Hubbard. "It was horrible, we had to stare in each others eyes for hours, talk to an ashtray, and answer the same questions hundreds of times, like, "Do birds fly?" said the woman. She regarded the exercises as a waste of time. Besides the course, almost everyday she had to cook, wash and clean. Looking back on it, the Zurich woman thinks the daily rate of 130 francs was too high, under those circumstances.

In contrast to that, Narconon President Ursula Suess asserted that the work time was limited to one hour duration per day. The woman from Zurich then concentrated her hopes on the Purification program. "I had to sit through a total of four to four and a quarter hours in the sauna daily," she said. In this manner, her hope for a "miracle" soon gave way to cold reality. Although the sauna sessions weakened her, she was hardly left with any time to recover from them. Besides that, she had to ingest piles of vitamin tables, up to 3,000 milligrams of niacin (Vitamin B) per day. "At the end of the program - the dose had been gradually increased - we had to take 45 tablets," the woman stated. She said she could hardly swallow that many capsules, her stomach began to rebel, and some of the capsules would not stay down.

In addition to that were problems with blood pressure. "I was always getting dizzy, I had circulation problems, and even fell down a couple of times." She said she tried to eat a lot, but her stomach often went on strike. So the already petite woman shed several kilograms in four weeks. "Every morning I was worn out, and much more tired than before the Purification program."

She had enough after the Purification program and wanted to stop her therapy right then. But the Scientologists worked at her mulishly. They told her she would be passing up the opportunity to become a new person. She finally had the strength, after a week, to pack her things and leave the rehabilitation center against the objections of the Narconon people. Since then, the Zurich woman said, she has often been contacted by Narconon people and Scientologists who try to talk her back into therapy.