Camp David Neighbors Fight Historic Designation to Keep Out Scientology-Backed Narcon

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Camp David Neighbors Fight Historic Designation to Keep Out Scientology-Backed Narconon Rehab Center.

New York Times: Camp David Neighbors Fight Historic Designation to Keep Out Scientology-Backed Center

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/21/us/scientology-narconon-trout-run-maryland.html

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David Love, who entered a Narconon drug-treatment program in 2008, spoke against the prospect of Narconon turning the property into a group home. Credit Drew Angerer for The New York Times

“Narconon doesn’t treat addiction whatsoever,” said David Love, who, when battling an addiction to prescription pills, entered a Narconon treatment program in Montreal in 2008.

Narconon does not employ doctors or nurses, he said, only former addicts who have gone through the program. They isolate patients from friends and family, he said, by transplanting them to distant cities (Mr. Love moved to Montreal from the west coast of Canada for his treatment). Treatment, he said, consists of quitting drugs cold turkey and studying the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.

“Every word that was in the Scientology books was in the Narconon books,” Mr. Love said. “There’s nothing in there about drug addiction.”

When asked, Narconon was open about its use of Scientology’s writings, but it disputed the rest of Mr. Love’s claims. However, dozens of lawsuits filed against Narconon in states such as California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Oklahoma contain many similar allegations.

According to one lawsuit, a program in Florida required “students to spend five hours per day for five weeks in a sauna at temperatures between 160 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.” Some lawsuits claim that generic drug rehabilitation websites, which ostensibly offer multiple options to those seeking treatment, lead people exclusively to Narconon.

The lawsuits almost uniformly state that participants in Narconon treatment, advertised as a secular program, are told to study books about Scientology.

Narconon and church officials say the program respects the religious freedom of its participants. “You do not have to become a member of the religion to do the program,” said Sylvia Stanard, a Scientology spokeswoman.

The lawsuits tend to be settled before they go to trial, said Ryan A. Hamilton, a lawyer from Las Vegas who is involved in multiple lawsuits against Narconon.

“Certainly somebody could come to the conclusion that Narconon does not want to show this program to a jury,” he said.

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