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Media Articles - 1990s

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3 December 2002
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Norris takes karate kicks at drug use

By Judith Colp

The Washington Times
July 27, 1990

If actor Chuck Norris has his way, there'll soon be a band of karate experts fighting the war on drugs - off screen.

"I'm trying to start a group called 'Kick Drugs out of America,' which would get the martial arts community involved in the anti-drug movement," he explained Wednesday at a Union Station reception promoting Narconon, an international drug rehabilitation center headquartered in Los Angeles.

"We have to fight against the philosophy that drugs are not everyone else's problem except those who are addicted. We need to create foot soldiers concerned about drugs."

The actor - who may not make movies grandmothers like but is a sweet guy - said he became involved with Narconon after reading about its high recovery rates.

But the crowd gathered around Mr. Norris - primarily clean-cut Capitol Hill interns - seemed most interested in obtaining his autograph. "It's for my friend in the Marine Corps," said one. "He's a manly sort of man."

The crowd then trooped over to the movie theater to see Mr. Norris' film "Delta Force 2" - the "best film of my career," said Mr. Norris - which was inspired by Colombian drug lord Carlos Lehder. The film has been making the rounds in Washington. It was screened Tuesday to a group of senators and earlier this year to members of the House.

Narconon was started in 1966 by an Arizona state penitentiary inmate and drug addict who used the philosophy of the late L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, in helping fellow convicts with drug problems.

Mr. Hubbard's bio and an open letter he wrote to drug addicts appear in Narconon's glossy brochure. And if you look closely at plans for the new $40 million Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, you can see that almost $500,000 has been earmarked for the L. Ron Hubbard Museum.

But those involved in Narconon sought to put distance between themselves and Mr. Hubbard.

"A person doesn't have to become a Scientologist to complete the program," said Narconon President John Duff. Although the Church of Scientology sponsors the program, "we're a non-profit, tax-exempt group with some government funding," he added.

"It's not promoting the Church of Scientology," insisted Aaron Norris, Mr. Norris' brother - and director of "Delta Force 2." "They simply have the most successful success rate of any drug rehabilitation program, and I know because I've looked around."

Rep. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Democrat of Colorado, said he didn't know about Narconon's background, but he hopes the center under completion in Oklahoma will help the American Indian population.

"If you take the average drug and alcohol problem and multiply that by 10, you have the average of the problem of the American Indians. My dad was an alcoholic, and probably 20 or so of my cousins.

"You see this?" he asked, gesturing toward his glass. "That's a Coca-Cola."