Narconon, Masters of Deception
My son, Chris, was addicted to Oxycodone, Suboxone and various other prescription pills.
Things had been spiraling out of control for some time and I knew as his mother that he didn’t have much time and I had to find a way to save him.
I looked on the Internet at the many facilities and called each one. The prices of 25,000 – 30,000 a month were prohibitive.
Finally I came across Narconon Vista Bay in California and spoke to “Mike DePalma”, one of their sales staff. He provided credibility to the program by telling me his story of how he was an addict himself who had graduated from the program.
When I asked if this was a religious organization, he said emphatically “absolutely not!”
I then asked the price and he said it was a one time non-refundable fee of $33,000. He explained that Chris could stay up to seven months and might even be eligible to retain work there. He explained that everyone on the premise was an ex-addict and a graduate of the program.
When I told him that my son was XXXXX (removed medical condition) and addicted to Oxycodone and that he would require a doctor’s care to come off these drugs, he assured me that they were very well equipped with the best doctors and care available. He said that they were a “non-profit” facility and 76% of their patients were healed through their program. He stated that theirs was a more “holistic approach” with a Sauna program, vitamins, healthy food and exercise.
I then explained that this was an urgent situation and that I needed to have an intervention done this very week. I told him what I was planning and he convinced me that having a professional fly out there would be his best advice. When I showed concern for the price, he told me that I might qualify for their discount program.
He called me back within an hour and told me he could have a professional fly out the next day and offered me a discount of $2,000 making the price $31,000 if I could pay the air fare and hotel room.
I picked “Ben DeLong” up at the airport and brought him to his hotel room. I was impressed that he hadn’t chosen a fancy hotel but one that was very reasonable. When I asked him about himself, he explained that he was an ex-addict who had graduated from the program and had been clean for 7 years. He had worked with Narconon for 5 years and was now married and working as an interventionist.
We had family and friends gather at his hotel room that night for a four hour “pre-intervention coaching” session. We were told to write a letter with one paragraph telling what Chris was like now and two paragraphs of how he used to be with the last few lines asking him to accept this help. We were further coached to follow him whenever he got up, never to leave him alone and to read our letters in the order that he decided would be most influential.
The next morning we arrived in three cars, blocking Chris’s car in the driveway. He was just getting up. Circling him, Ben started by telling his story and then on cue, we each read our letters. Every time Chris got up, we all followed.
By noon, Chris accepted our pleas, packed and flew with Ben to CA that afternoon.
After they left, my daughter felt concerned. She had noticed that Ben had a very long pinkie nail, usually used to snort Cocaine. “Why would he have a nail like that if he were really an “ex-addict?”” she questioned.
After Chris’s arrival, the financial office called for payment and my ex-husband and I put up our credit cards not knowing how we were ever really going to pay for this. We didn’t care; we just had to do whatever it was going to take to save our beautiful boy.
It was understood that it would be about 10 days before I could have any contact with Chris as he would have to go through detoxification. They were great at calling me everyday with an update on how he was progressing.
After two weeks, Chris was able to talk to me and told me that the people were “really nice” and the place was clean and the food was good. I was just so relieved and told everyone the good news.
About two months later, Chris told me that there was some “really strange stuff” going on. He said “they make us do these drills where we just sit and stare at each other for seven hours at a time”. He then asked me if I thought it strange that all the “higher ups from Narconon” were going to this one church located on the property and that they were all driving Mercedes! He said, “Isn’t this place supposed to be a non-profit?”
When I asked what kind of church, he said he was not allowed to say, but then covered his mouth on the phone and whispered “Scientology”. He also wanted to know if anyone contacted me to ask what we were talking about. He told me that one kid got thrown out for talking about “Scientology”.
Shocked, I asked if he, himself, had been forced to go to that church and he said “not yet”. “How do you know that this was in fact “Scientology”?” I asked. He said that all of his books were written by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology and told me to look it up on the Internet.
Completely shocked, I googled “Scientology” and found that L. Ron Hubbard was in fact the founder. Next I googled “Narconon Vista Bay + Scientology” and went screaming out of the room!
I found that everything I had been told was a lie and that there were in fact no doctors; the detoxification was considered “dangerous” and the Sauna program found “useless”. The drills my son had been participating in were in fact “brain-washing” tactics and the whole thing was a front for Scientology!
I took my beautiful boy from the fry pan and threw him into the FIRE!
I called family members and told them of my horror. I needed to get him out of there, find a new place for him to go and more money to pay for it!
My mother told me of my cousin who had sent his son to a facility in Canada and he had been clean for 3.5 years! I called Edgewood, located in Nanaimo, BC. They had a room available the following week.
My mother offered to pay for this facility and paid for our flights out there. Within one week, a new plan was in place and all without my son’s knowledge. We didn’t want to risk his security.
My daughter, her boyfriend and myself flew out to San Francisco and the next day rented a car to arrive unannounced before Chris’s scheduled class started at 10:00 am. We pulled into the parking lot. Narconon Vista Bay looked like a temple perched on top of several flights of stairs.
We walked in and found one young man behind the desk. I plopped my purse on the desk, smiled and kindly asked to see my son. His immediate response was” Oh, you’re coming to pick him up!” I said, “I don’t know what you mean, I know that his class will be starting in about 5 minutes, and I would like to see him.” The young man appeared agitated and was trying to locate someone by texting and punching numbers into the phone.
I looked at the clock and it was now 9:58am. I said, “ I really need to see him before his class starts”. Then I heard from the other side of the wall the words “Roll Call!” I said “Oh he must be right beside us, can you get him?” The young man said, “This is a very large campus and your son could be in any location. I will have to get a hold of someone to find out where he is.”
Just then I heard the person in charge of the “roll call” say “Chris here?” “Here!” I heard. Furious, I walked behind the young man and pulled the curtain to find my son standing right in front of me on the other side of the glass wall!
Chris looked up and stood back in complete shock as he thought he had seen a ghost! I motioned for him to come around to see us. Then I turned my attention to the young man behind the desk and lost it!
I yelled at him that he was a liar and that everything I had been told was nothing but a lie!! Just then several councilors’ started coming in. One very blond, very tall, and very skinny lady introduced herself as one of Chris’s counselors and asked us to step into the conference room. I declined saying “I came here to see my son, I didn’t come here to talk to you.” I walked over to look at the books being displayed all around the room. They were all by the author L. Ron Hubbard.
Taking a seat now close to the door, another councilor sat down beside me. He said, ”We’ve been here a long time and we know the drill. We know you saw the Internet and have come to pick up your son”. I said, “Now that our gloves are off, where is he? It doesn’t take 10 minutes to walk around the corner!”
The skinny blond girl came over and said, “ I know what you read on the Internet and you think we are Scientology, but we are not.” Just then Chris walked into the room. He looked great! He had gained 35 pounds and wore a big huge smile. As we stood by the door hugging him, the blond lady came over again to ask that we come into the conference room. I spoke up and said we would like to talk with Chris outside.
Chris and I went outside and sat on a nearby bench. My daughter and her boyfriend stood in front of us so we could talk with some privacy. The councilors were walking past us constantly, supposedly trying to hear what was being said.
Chris seemed shocked and hesitant when we told him what we had read about Narconon Vista Bay on the Internet. After some discussion, Chris agreed to come with us. We walked back in and Chris told them he would be leaving with us. The blond girl was upset and told us we were making a big mistake. I replied, “The only mistake I made, was trusting you!”
We flew to Vancouver Island and drove to Nanaimo, BC Canada. Although Chris looked better, I could tell he was still a very lost soul. He was bitter when we dropped him off at Edgewood and all I could do was pray that I had done the right thing, this time.
April 8th 2012 marks one year that Chris has been clean of any substance. Edgewood and their professional staff of doctors, psychologists and graduates have given him the tools to live a better life and most importantly how to live on a budget! This is a facility that should be replicated!
Narconon has many facilities all over the world and are masters of deception! Their name is similar to “Nar-Anon” which stands for “Narcotics Anonymous” along with an affordable price, by comparison, positioning them to take advantage of thousands of compromised adults and desperate families.
Their Web Gurus bought and own hundreds of keywords representing every type of drug inquiry ensuring their name pops up first to net their victims. As long as the word “Scientology” is not connected, the web will show Narconon as an “excellent rehab facility”. I called the “Tip Hotline” for help and realized that they, too, were involved with steering families towards Narconon.
Narconon uses every tactic of manipulation! They prove credibility through their website and by their sales staff telling their own success stories. They are competitively priced, and insinuate via their website that they are not religious by following a more holistic approach - not the the “12 step” program. They understand the sense of urgency with desperate parents. They are accommodating and influential touting pain-free detox in their sauna program. Worst of all, they provide hope to their victims making up glorified stories of “ex-addicts” and the possibility of a job in the future. Everything is lies all lies.