Monday, November 14, 2011
Narconon of Oklahoma is a Deadly Place
This is the story of two men who attended Narconon Arrowhead last month. Both became ill. One finally managed to leave but not until after the death of the other. The details of one leads to the details of the other and while more information is pending on the death, there is enough available to give you an idea of what was happening and why Narconon Arrowhead needs to be investigated and shut down.
On Qctober 25, 2011, Thirty two year old Gabriel Graves complained of a very terrible headache, a worsening continuation of the one from the day before. It started after he began going into the sauna part of the Narconon drug program he'd gone to in order to get help with his addiction. He had been sweating for hours a day after taking the daily increasing amounts of of vitamins - the combination of which, according to the materials he was made to study, were to remove drugs and toxins from his body. He complained about his headaces and his pain, and asked for pain relief but was denied any each time. Instead, he was told to get back into the sauna.
This happened to another 'student, as they call them in Narconon. Both were suffering and not getting the medical attention they needed. This other 'student' ( who will call Joe ) was experiencing a severe headache and high blood pressure, and despite the high readings and requests for something to alievate the headache, he, too was refused and told to go back in the sauna. It was said that they both had asked on several occasions for either one any over-the-counter headache relief medication and to see a doctor. Both had been told there there was none on the premises. So, the program staff refused to help Gabriel. And Joe.
According to Joe, it was said by others that Narconon was not even allowing other students to take their prescribed medications. That it was said that another student there had been refused his own blood pressure medication. They were told in the contract they signed that "Narconon is a drug-free program."
On this day Joe contacted his girlfriend and mother, pleading for help. He had called in the days since arriving but this time he thought his head was going to explode. The night before his blood pressure reading was 167/108.
From caring.com, we read:
[..] What a blood pressure reading of 167/108 means
Readings between 160/110 and 180/110 usually indicate STAGE 2 HYPERTENSION, which puts you at high risk for life-threatening problems such as heart attack and stroke.
High blood pressure in this range can cause symptoms such as headache, nausea and vomiting, mental confusion, vision changes, chest pain, or shortness of breath. If you notice any of these symptoms, your high blood pressure is considered a hypertensive emergency and you need to call 911.[..]
This was not done then. Joe did not know how serious his blood pressure situation was. Only that it read high. So on this 25th day of October, he begged his loved ones to be allowed to go home. The headache, the smoky environment, the lack of counseling as promised. No medical care. No relief for his headache. He felt as if he was losing his mind there, that they were taking a piece of his mind.
The staff told his mother "he is exaggerating everything trying to get out of doing the program" 'he's faking it'. "the wrist bp cuffs read high on everybody."
'XXXX "wasn’t doing his part in sauna", 'he just wanted to “use” and that there was not a problem.'. "He is being a baby" said the interventionist that had connected Joe's mom to the program.
WHO TO BELIEVE
The mother just did not know who to believe. This is a common complaint about Narconon. Parents feel they are at the mercy of the facility staff. They are made to not trust what their loved one is telling them about the place, about the program.
This is the interventionist, Holly L Conklin of Oklahoma, posing for her Dept of Corrections photo.
She has a history of lying.
Read the comments here
Holly Conklin will be the subject of another revealing upcoming article. In the meantime, back to the subject at hand...
The next morning, October 26th, there was a commotion a few doors down the hallway from where Joe roomed. Joe heard someone yell "I am not a doctor!" He looked out into the hallway and noticed this came from two doors down the hall, at the room Gabriel and his roommate had been assigned. Joe saw the "nurse" of the facility crying, walking out of Gabriels room with another staffer. He heard someone say that Gabriel had been found dead in his bed. Joe stood there, shocked and scared. Eventually Joe was instructed to move along, away from the direction of Gabriel's room. All student were made to go and stay gathered outside the building. As he walked out, he noticed staff gathered in the lobby.
Student remained outside for over an hour. During this time, they talked. Joe was told at one point, by one of the students who found Gabriel, that - without going into details- the condition of the body. It was such such that it seemed to Joe that Gabriel might have suffered an aneurysm or a stroke. He was told by another student that staff had been in Gabriel's room a long time, that Gabriel had been dead for some hours. Joe heard again about Gabriel's complaints about having painful headaches from the sauna, that he was not given any pain relief and that the headache was severe the day before he died. Joe was very upset, as he himself was suffering so from having them as well. Was it something in the sauna? Or about the long hours of being in the sauna, or was it the large amounts of vitamins, of Niacin in particular, that they had been made to take?
He stood there listening, scared and quiet, while hearing the other students talk as they waited to be informed on what was happening. One of the roommates said that they found Gabriel around 8am. Joe had been out at that time, eating breakfast and doing personal chores around the facility. He remembers being back in his room at around 10am when he heard the commotion in the hall. What were they doing for two hours? Who was it that said " I'm not a doctor!" and why?
It appeared that the authorities were not contacted until about 11 am, after the staff had met in the lobby. Even then, the ambulance and a policemen in a Dodge Charger did not arrive until just before noon.
Eventually a staffer came out and spoke to the students. "That could
be you!". Pointing into the building. Joe said that the idea that Gabriel had died from drugs was something he'd not even thought of until this was stated.
This comment by the staff member got the students talking about the possibility that maybe Gabriel had died from drugs. Someone mentioned that one of Gabriel's roommates was using Heroin. I asked Joe to explain how this could be. How could patients being doing drugs in a rehab facility?
Joe, a young abuser of alcohol doing his first stint at a rehab, told me he saw and had been offered drugs, which he refused because he was never into drugs. He believed that the reason the drugs were so rampant at Arrowhead was the fact that some of the newer staff, recent Narconon graduates, were using as well. And possibly the ones bringing them into the facility. There were quite a few people doing drugs there, he said. Many of the drugs talked about and offered were ones he'd never heard of. He said there were drugs of all kinds all over the facility but he'd heard no indication that Gabriel was among those to be using them. Joe was so sick of being at Narconon, of the headaches, the program ( he was still waiting for the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which they were told he'd be getting when he signed up), and of the environment. He felt he was being forced to stay there and had no choice. He was one of only 3 people there who did not smoke and the place reeked of smoke and it was making him ill to breath there. The sauna was killing him and he wondered if it killed Gabriel. He wondered if the sauna and the headaches Gabriel had been complaining about had anything to do with his death. ( see obituary info at the end of the article)
Staff had everyone get back to what they were supposed to be doing and Joe reluctantly went to the sauna hoping his headache would not get any worse. He was miserable.
Later that day Joe was pulled out of the sauna 'into interviews', where he was asked if he 'following the protocol'. Was he taking all the vitamins and the rest of the treatment supplements that he was supposed to take? Was he taking enough potassium and salt and drinking enough fluids?
He told them he had but he was still having this terrible headache and did not want to go into the sauna any longer until he saw a doctor to address this and his high blood pressure. He was so scared this was going to happen to him since his headaches were so bad he felt like his head was going to blow up, explode. They relented, and said he could stay out until the doctor arrived later that week.
The day after Gabriel died, students were selectively drug tested. Joe was not tested, although he volunteered to be. Of those tested, 5 failed, testing positive for drugs in their system and they were 'kicked out of the program.' Gabriel's roommate, who I will call Al, was one of them. Of those tested was a female student. She was informed that she tested positive only for being pregnant. She'd gotten pregnant while in the program at Narconon.
Because the doctor came and went without them calling Joe as promised, he just up and left the program, just walked away. He felt so sick that he could not take it any longer. They caught him about a mile up the road and convinced him to go back.
He was urged to go back in the sauna again, as the doctor again would not be back until later next week. Joe refused but he gave in the next day and started the program again. On Monday, October 31st, his blood pressure was already topping at 174/111. When he finally saw the doctor, he was given an 'adjustment' and told it was a tension headache. Presumably this doctor was a chiropractor. Joe was told it was ok to go back in the sauna. He reluctantly agreed, again but soon he felt so ill and abandoned that he considered leaving with fed up another student, who was leaving after finishing the sauna part; Joe decided to leave with him and his relatives. On the day they came to pick the men up, Narconon staff told these relatives many things about Joe, including his medical and rehab problems in an effort to convince thenm to not take Joe with them. This was a violation of law. The relatives could not believe how staff were treating Joe. They took him with them and left. Eventually he arrived home, still with a terrible headache and high blood pressure. He's under medical care now.
There is more to Joe's story, for another time. His mother became educated on what goes on at Narconon and realized that she had been lied to about the program and about how her son was doing. She feels cheated and betrayed. The death of Gabriel and the Narconon program haunts them both. This should have never happened. Whether it was from drugs or not, that is not the issue here. No one expects that when they send their loved one to a Narconon facility that the person would be denied medical care, or that they would never come home. But on the issue of drugs being available at Narconon, it is the ultimate betrayal because no one sends their loved one to a rehab facility so they can get access to drugs.
Gabriel was a beloved father of two young girls; a cherished son and brother. He was very artistic. He loved playing music, writing poetry and sketching. He cherished his daughters. He went to Narconon to overcome an addiction. He and his family did not deserve what happened and, at best, Narconon Arrowhead was negligent in it's supervision and care of patients at it's facility.
I'm not sure what Gabriel and his loved ones were promised but from experience I have found that what is promised by Narconon staff and commissioned sales people is usually not the truth. Drugs have been known to be available at other Narconon facilities in the recent past and have been the subject of reports to governing agencies. This is the second wrongful death in 2 years at Narconon Arrowhead. Something must be done to investigate the program and the facility and how it is that this and the other known problems. How they have managed to get and keep this license? ( click image for full view)
I will continue with my own investigation, utilizing resources and working together with others , like Colin Henderson, who are exposing Narconon in Oklahoma. There is much going on right now to make sure the children of Oklahoma are not being indoctrinated into the false ideas of this program. It was in the news today:
Rest in Peace, Gabriel W. Graves
November 4, 1978 - October 26, 2011
Condolences to your loved ones.
Gabriel's obituary can be found at these links: