Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Scientology reaches into schools through Narconon

From "Scientology reaches into schools through Narconon" by Joseph Mallia, The Boston Herald

An organization with ties to the Church of Scientology is recruiting New England schoolchildren for what critics say is an unproven — and possibly dangerous — anti-drug program.
And the group — Narconon Inc. of Everett — is being paid with taxpayer dollars without disclosing its Scientology connections.

Narconon was paid at least $942,853 over an eight-year period for delivering anti-drug lectures at public and parochial schools throughout the region, according to federal income tax documents.....

At a lecture at Chelmsford High School attended by the Herald, Wiggins praised the benefits of a detoxification program that involves sauna and vitamin treatments.

But what the Scientologist did not disclose to the Chelmsford teachers, administrators or students is that the $1,200 detoxification regimen is actually a religious program the Church of Scientology calls the Purification Rundown.

In fact, he never mentioned the word "Scientology," or L. Ron Hubbard's name during the lectures. "I took an IQ test before and after, and the score shot up 22 points," Wiggins said during the Chelmsford drug awareness lecture, referring to the benefits of the Purification Rundown. "My energy level quadrupled. I could think about 10 times faster," Wiggins boasted. But according to health experts, the Scientology detox program is untested and possibly health-threatening.

The [Purification Rundown] requires vigorous exercise, five hours of saunas, megadoses of up to 5,000 mg of niacin, and doses of cooking oil. This regimen is repeated daily for two or three weeks. Every Scientologist, including young children, must go through this detox procedure as an "introductory service" — a first step in the church's high-priced teachings, according to church documents and ex-members.

"The idea of sweating out poisons is kind of an old wives' tale," said William Jarvis, a professor of public health at Loma Linda University in Southern California. "It's all pretty hokey."

Salt and water are the only substances that the Purification Rundown removes from the body, according to a 1990 U.S. Food and Drug Administration report, Jarvis said.

"Narconon's program is not safe," the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health said in a 1992 rejection of Chilocco New Life Center, a Scientology residential hospital on an Indian reservation in Newkirk, Okla.

"No scientifically well-controlled studies were found that documented the safety of the Narconon program," the board said.

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