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Scientology Myths - what is fact? what is fiction?
chapter: Detox

Q: Is Narconon a Scientology Front Group?

Allegation: Narconon is a front for Scientology and is really a religious program in disguise.

Facts: While L. Ron Hubbard is well known as the founder of the Scientology religion, the materials used in the Narconon program are based on his observations of drug abuse and addiction in society and what can be done about them outside of any religious context.

Narconon is a drug rehabilitation based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard. It is a completely secular program. The first Narconon program was founded in Arizona State Prison in 1966 by an inmate, William Benitez, who had long been addicted to heroin and for whom this was his sixth time in prison.  In the prison library, Benitez came across works by philosopher and humanitarian, L. Ron Hubbard. Benitez began working with other inmates using what he read in Mr. Hubbard’s books to handle their drug addiction. Some months later, he wrote to Mr. Hubbard and asked for help. L. Ron Hubbard was glad to provide all the conceptual and research support he could.

Upon his release, Benitez established in 1967 in Los Angeles the first Narconon residential drug rehabilitation center. In 1972, Benitez legally incorporated the Narconon program as a 501(C)3 non-profit public benefit corporation (the same corporation that is Narconon International today).

Narconon Arrowhead was first established in 1990 at the site of an old Bureau of Indian Affairs school in Newkirk, Oklahoma.  In 2001 (through a grant from the International Association of Scientologists), it moved into its present facilities on 256 acres of woodland on Lake Eufala in southeastern Oklahoma. It has a staff of 190 people and has serviced more than 4,000 students.  

Narconon Arrowhead also serves as the Narconon International Training Center, where we have provided onsite training and apprenticing for drug rehab specialists from many programs, including the Narconon network, from 20 countries and 47 U.S. states.

CARF (the international Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission, recognized as a senior organization capable of reviewing the standards of and accrediting rehab organizations) has accredited and commended Narconon Arrowhead, Narconon International Training Center, as an exemplary Alcohol and Other Drug Programs Detoxification and Residential Treatment facility.

The Church of Scientology is very open about its support of the Narconon program as can be seen in the videos on the Church website. The Church even placed on television national and international paid public service announcements that refer to Narconon, including on NBC.

The Church does not receive funds from Narconon and on the contrary, it is through our parishioners’ generous support that Narconon Arrowhead has the fine facility it exists in today. Parishioners have been supporting the Narconon drug rehabilitation program in numerous ways, with their time and money, for four decades.