Author Topic: Article in Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly about Narconon Arrowhead  (Read 2322 times)

Offline ethercat

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This article was in Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly (alcoholismdrugabuseweekly.com) on July 30, 2012, Volume 24 Number 29.  I found a copy in Google's cache, and am posting it here for archival and educational purposes. 

There's some interesting information about SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) in here, and some interesting comments from a couple of critics (not any of us as far as I know, but I wish they would join us here), as well as some information some of us already know.



Scientology-based substance abuse program investigated for deaths

Narconon Arrowhead, a substance abuse treatment program in Canadian, Oklahoma, is under investigation by the state for three patient deaths since last fall, the most recent, 20-year-old Stacy Murphy, on July 19. The other deaths occurred in April (Hillary Holten) and October (Gabriel Graves). The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) is leading the inquiry, and announced July 25 that it had responded to a request by the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office on the July 19 death scene.

“An OSBI agent processed the death scene at Narconon Arrowhead,” an OSBI press statement said. “That report has been delivered to the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office.” Assistant District Attorney Richard Hull has requested reports on all three deaths. Currently the investigation is focused on autopsy and toxicology reports.

Narconon treatment programs, including Narconon Arrowhead, are connected with the Church of Scientology. Narconon Arrowhead is accredited by CARF, and is on the treatment locator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Apparently, the facility has been approved for listing by the federal government and the state on the SAMHSA treatment locator as well, so that a patient or family member going to even the top federal agency with authority over treatment would be steered to a Narconon program without knowing whether it is under investigation or related to any religion or cult.

According to SAMHSA, it’s up to the state to request to remove a facility from the locator. If a treatment facility responds to SAMHSA’s survey for the locator, and if the facility is approved by the Single State Authority (the state’s substance abuse director with control over the block grant), SAMHSA puts it on, according to SAMHSA press officer Brad Stone. “If a state substance abuse agency withdraws a facility's license or no longer approves it, they have to inform us so that we can remove the facility from the Locator,” Stone told ADAW. 

We contacted the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) to request an interview with the SSA about Narconon Arrowhead. “We must decline an opportunity to provide any interviews at this time due to the open status of this investigation,” responded Jeffrey Dismukes, ODMHSAS director of public information, in an email. “We currently certify Narconon Arrowhead for non-medical  and medical detoxification services only,” he said.

 “The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is currently reviewing other aspects of the Narconon program to determine whether additional components should be subject to state certification standards,” added Dismukes. “ODMHSAS has a current ongoing investigation concerning the facility.  Information gathered that is determined to be outside the scope of this agency will be shared with other organizations that have jurisdiction including state and local law enforcement and investigative departments.”

According to reporter Jeanne Le Fiore, who has been covering Narconon Arrowhead for the McAlester News-Capital, Murphy’s death was called an “unattended death” in the sheriff’s report. A fourth, earlier death was settled after the woman’s parents filed a lawsuit, which according to LeFiore alleged that Narconon Arrowhead had committed gross negligence after the woman become ill from an upper respiratory infection and was denied outside medical attention and prescription medication.

LeFiore also reported on July 21 that a woman at Narconon Arrowhead was “held against her will” and had to be rescued by the Sheriff’s office on the night of July 19. The 19-year-old’s mother was told she could not pick her up. Richard Bedford, Assistant Pittsburg County Sheriff, told LeFiore that the girl said she wanted to leave. That morning was the morning Murphy had been found dead at the facility.

Narconon’s side
There are more than 200 beds at Narconon Arrowhead, according to John Bitinas, who describes himself as public relations staff for the facility. Citing confidentiality concerns he would not discuss the three deaths, but he called them “deeply saddening” and said the program’s prayers were with the families, and that losing the young adults “has taken an extreme emotional toll on us as well.”

Asked whether medications are used to help patients going through withdrawal, he said that “Narconon is drug-free, meaning we do not use substitute drugs as part of our rehabilitation process.” All patients are assessed at enrollment to determine whether they are “psychiatrically or medically qualified for the level of care we offer here,” said Bitinas in an email to ADAW. “If they are found to need a higher level of care than Narconon is qualified to offer at that time, they are referred to a more appropriate facility.” If patients require medications to treat physical conditions like diabetes, infections, and so on, those medications are prescribed by the Narconon physician, who is part-time but available on-call on a 24-hour basis, according to Bitinas. There is 24-hour nursing staff, he said.

The Narconon length of stay is about three to four months, but “open-ended,” said Bitinas. “It takes as long as it takes,” he told ADAW. The cost is $30,000, regardless of how long the patient stays. Narconon Arrowhead accepts insurance; most of the patients are self-pay. It does not take Medicaid or public assistance.

Narconon uses vitamins “to restore nutritional balance” and a “sauna to detox the body,” said Bitinas. The Narconon Program is based on the work of L. Ron Hubbard, creator of the Church of Scientology, according to Bitinas. “Treatment itself is non-denominational, but the program is based on L. Ron Hubbard’s book,” he said. “As a treatment program, what we do is get people off drugs.”

Critics
Gerald Shulman, a clinical psychologist who is an author of the patient placement criteria for the American Society of Addiction Medicine, is particularly critical of Narconon’s self-promotion of success rates as high as 78 percent. A former board member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), Shulman doesn’t think providers should be allowed to quote recovery statistics. “I believe in independent evaluations of outcomes,” he told ADAW. “I have a real problem with Narconon.” Shulman, who is based in Florida, said that in general the treatment field needs to move toward outcome-based treatment.

Peter L. Myers, Ph.D. chair of the International Coalition for Addiction Studies Education (I.N.C.A.S.E.), bluntly calls Narconon “a front for Scientology.” In addition, as a treatment program, it uses “dubious methods,” Myers, a researcher on cult phenomena, told ADAW.

The nonprofit that runs Narconon International is called the Association for Better Living and Education, which is devoted to promoting the nonsecular use of Scientology, according to its website.

• Go to http://1.usa.gov/Omj1Ho for Oklahoma’s rules governing treatment certification.
   Narconon Reviews
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Offline 10oriocookies

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I like their professional opinions.  We may need to try and contact these cats.
ET went home.

Offline BigBeard

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"The nonprofit that runs Narconon International is called the Association for Better Living and Education, which is devoted to promoting the nonsecular use of Scientology, according to its website."

Umm....How, exactly, do you make a "religion" nonsecular???

I mean short of being a charter member of the 'Liar's Club'.

 
BigBeard

Offline 10oriocookies

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Every part of the program and its administrative procedures can be found in their sacred scientology scriptures.  Im not sure how that equates to "we are not based on scientology." 
ET went home.

Offline snippy

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Offline ethercat

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Gerald Shulman, a clinical psychologist who is an author of the patient placement criteria for the American Society of Addiction Medicine, is particularly critical of Narconon’s self-promotion of success rates as high as 78 percent. A former board member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), Shulman doesn’t think providers should be allowed to quote recovery statistics. “I believe in independent evaluations of outcomes,” he told ADAW. “I have a real problem with Narconon.” Shulman, who is based in Florida, said that in general the treatment field needs to move toward outcome-based treatment.

Quote
Peter L. Myers, Ph.D. chair of the International Coalition for Addiction Studies Education (I.N.C.A.S.E.), bluntly calls Narconon “a front for Scientology.” In addition, as a treatment program, it uses “dubious methods,” Myers, a researcher on cult phenomena, told ADAW.

I like their professional opinions.  We may need to try and contact these cats.

Yes, I agree.  That would be good.

Gerald Shulman:
http://www.dlcas.com/Faculty/shulman.htm
http://www.shulmansolutions.com/index.html

Peter L. Myers:
http://www.incase.org/board.html
   Narconon Reviews
   Independent Reviews of the Narconon Drug Rehab Programs
   Answers to Frequently Asked But Seldom Answered Questions