Not all drug treatment programs are the same. The famous (or some would say “infamous”) Narconon program, for instance, has surrendered its license in Georgia to treat people for their addictions.
The Narconon program had been licensed to operate an outpatient rehab program only. After several state probes, it appears that Narconon was operating a residential treatment unit. To make matters worse, there are sworn statements from the executive director that they knew the residential program was illegal, yet continued to operate it anyways.
Additionally, Narconon is alleged to have defrauded clients’ insurance companies. One client’s mother had their insurance billed $166,275 for doctors’ visits which (again, allegedly) never happened. Yet, this was only the first of such discrepancies. In all, a total of $3 million has been fraudulently billed according to the charges filed against the company.
William Benitez and L. Ron Hubbard founded Narconon in 1966. If that latter name sounds familiar, it should. It is the same L. Ron Hubbard who also founded the Church of Scientology. As a matter of fact, Narconon remains one of the “betterment programs” of the Church, and pays them a fee of 10% of its gross revenue every year.
Its drug treatment methods have been described as “medically unsafe,” “quackery,” and “medical fraud.” Narconon has also claimed an 80% success rate, which qualified experts from around the globe claim to be, “simply untrue.” Narconon’s basis for this claim appears to be based on a sample pool of 13 people from their 210 facilities located in 47 different countries. Further, no independent studies have been able to verify the claims of Narconon.
Actor Tom Cruise has described it as, “the only successful drug rehabilitation program in the world…It’s a statistically proven fact that there is only one successful drug rehabilitation program in the world. Period.” Tom Cruise also has no formal or informal training in any scientifically accepted mental or physical healthcare field, nor has he personally suffered from drug addiction, and as such, his opinion in the matter is invalid.
Admittedly, some believe the Narconon program helped them to stay clean and sober. We are happy for their success. In 12 Step recovery, it clearly states that we do not run a monopoly on the ways in which people recover.
However, it would be grossly negligent to ignore the fact that just last year, three clients died at one of Narconon’s facilities over a nine-month period, including another death two years prior. With an average treatment plan lasting three to four months, we cannot help but believe that such a program is a poor choice for those looking for drug treatment. These are from only one center at one point in time; there are many others.
Of course, we are biased. We point these things out because we want people to have the best chances possible to recover from alcohol and drug addiction, and to do so safely. We strongly encourage anyone looking for alcohol or drug treatment to do his or her homework on each facility thoroughly.
Have you tried other drug treatment programs? If so, which ones? Tell us your experience in the comments!