Narconon FAQ

40 years of evidence of recovery studies

How is L. Ron Hubbard associated with Narconon?

L Ron Hubbard

L. Ron Hubbard's research forms the basis of the NARCONON® program.

In 1966, Arizona State Prison inmate and heroin addict William Benitez, searching for new solutions to his addiction from which no other drug treatment method had freed him, found Mr. Hubbard's works on the mind and life in the prison library. The works did not talk about drugs but they did talk about concentrating on and raising one's life skills and ability, rather than adapting oneself to life problems. Mr. Benitez realized that this could be a totally new approach to solving drug addiction. Not only did he then found the Narconon program (for "no drugs" or "no narcotics") to help himself recover permanently from his own long-term addiction, but he used these same materials to start a program to work with other addicted inmates. As the program proved successful, he wrote proudly to Mr. Hubbard about his results. Mr. Hubbard provided encouragement and support for the developing program. Later, after Mr. Benitez was released from prison and established the first residential center in Los Angeles, Mr. Hubbard formally provided the group with permanent permission to use his copyrighted materials for the purpose of drug rehabilitation under the Narconon name.

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Is Narconon part of the Church of Scientology?

No. Narconon International is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation. It is licensed to use L. Ron Hubbard's discoveries in a secular (non-religious) context in relieving drug addiction. As stated above, in 1976, Mr. Hubbard gave Narconon the right to use his copyrighted works for the purposes of drug rehabilitation.  Narconon International licenses other Narconon centers.

Narconon has always been fortunate to have the support of the Church of Scientology and of individual Scientologists. The Church of Scientology supports the Narconon program as part of its social mission, as can be seen from its website ( The Church of Scientology has placed on television national and international paid public service announcements to raise public awareness about the Narconon program.

The Church of Scientology does not receive funds from Narconon and on the contrary, it is through its parishioners' generous contributions that a number of Narconon's fine facilities exist today. Parishioners have been supporting the Narconon drug rehabilitation program in numerous ways, with their time and money, for more than four decades and Narconon is grateful for that support.

Narconon centers do not discriminate based on religious or other personal creed. Staff and students of Narconon centers are free to practice whatever religious belief they choose.

More info

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Is there a religious component to the Narconon program?

No. The Narconon program is secular (non-religious). It teaches no dogma and makes no requirement that the person converts to a faith. It teaches practical skills and works to improve the persons own self-worth so he or she will live a drug free life. Students at a Narconon center are encouraged to pursue their own religious studies or pursuits as these have proven to help many people in their recoveries. At some Narconon centers, local churches send vans around on Sunday morning to pick up those who wish to attend services.

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What does the Narconon drug rehabilitation program consist of?

Program Components

The Narconon drug rehabilitation program consists of a drug-free withdrawal (except in cases where only a medically-assisted withdrawal is possible), detoxification and a series of life-skills courses to help recovering addicts to overcome their addiction and to learn how to solve their problems without drugs. It generally takes from three to five months to complete the program.

The entire premise of the Narconon program is that a person can work through his or her past problems, learn drug-free life skills and rehabilitate his or her self-respect and integrity, and thus need no further "treatment" of addiction. More on our rehab program

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How long is the Narconon program?

The program does not have a set length. A person progresses through at his or her own rate. The minimum time taken to complete the program is about three months. Between three and five months is the usual length but some people need more time to recover fully and develop the drug-free life skills they are going to rely on once they are home again.

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How does the Narconon program help a person get through drug withdrawal?

Drug Withdrawal

There are several tools that Narconon staff use to help people through withdrawal. The first is nutrition. Addicts normally fail to see to their basic needs including eating and sleeping properly. Each person in withdrawal gets generous doses of vitamins and minerals that are commonly depleted in recovering addicts which treatment strongly reduces the fierce symptoms that typically accompany withdrawal. Narconon staff work with each person to provide gentle re-orientation exercises that help reduce anxiety and increase objectivity. Physical assists calm the body and help reduce spasms and cramps. Many recovering addicts find these steps help them have the most tolerable withdrawal ever. More on the withdrawal technique

Where necessary, Narconon utilizes referrals to physicians for students requiring a medical withdrawal procedure before beginning the Narconon program.

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How can the Narconon program help relieve the depression suffered by so many addicts?

Alcoholisim and Depression

Many drug rehabs prescribe addictive drugs to treat this depression. At Narconon, it is found that depression begins to lift in withdrawal when the recovering addict receives generous doses of nutrition, as nutritional depletion itself can cause or worsen depression.

Additionally, as the person goes through the life skills training, repairs her relationships and once again discovers the brightness of life that may have been lost long ago, she will start looking forward to the new goals she can now set and achieve. For a person who has recovered his interest in life, has overcome cravings and knows how to stay sober, depression is a thing of the past.

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How does Narconon's sauna program work?

Sauna Drug Detox

The Narconon New Life Detoxification Program was based on Mr. Hubbard's discoveries that certain nutritional and other supplements combined with exercise and repeated periods sweating in a low heat, well ventilated sauna enabled the body to flush out old stored drug toxins.

There is also a unique program component that cleanses toxic drug residuals from the body. For recovering addicts, this is a vital action as these stored drug toxins have been shown to be involved in triggering cravings, even years after drug use ceased. But when these residual toxins have been flushed out, recovering addicts normally feel brighter and report that they can think more clearly and have fewer cravings. Some people even say cravings are gone entirely. This program is carefully supervised, with a precise regimen of nutritional supplementation tailored to each person's progress. It usually takes between one and two months to complete. More info on our sauna detox program.

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When and where did the Narconon drug rehab program come from?

Willie Benitez

Narconon was first begun by William Benitez in 1966 at the Arizona State Penitentiary. Benitez, then an inmate, wrote to L. Ron Hubbard from his prison cell in Arizona in 1966 saying that Mr. Hubbard's writings had given him hope to kick a lifelong drug addiction. Benitez had tried all other existing methods to free himself from his addiction. Nothing had worked, but he did not give up on himself. In the prison library, Benitez came across Mr. Hubbard's books, specifically, Scientology: Fundamentals of Thought. Mr. Hubbard did not write these books specifically about drugs. He wrote about varying approaches to solving life's problems. What struck Benitez was the concept of raising one's abilities to solve any and all problems.

Mr. Benitez decided to found a program, naming it "Narconon" (for "no drugs" or "no narcotics") He started the first program inside the prison itself. Some months after he started working, he wrote to Mr. Hubbard and asked for help. Mr. Hubbard was glad to provide all the conceptual and research support he could.

Benitez then established the first Narconon residential drug rehabilitation center in Los Angeles. In 1972, Benitez legally incorporated the Narconon program as a 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation.

As the Narconon network expanded and evolved, Mr. Hubbard continued his inquiries into drug problems. Narconon incorporated additional discoveries he made, especially the use of the dry, adjustable-heat sauna with an exercise and nutritional regimen as a method to address some of the physical and mental effects of the accumulated toxic burden associated with alcohol and drug use.

Today, Narconon's procedures and standards of performance are clearly defined and delivered according to manuals published as a worldwide standard in the early 1990s. Since the Narconon manuals were formulated, tens of thousands of individuals have successfully completed the full drug rehab program. More on William Benitez

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Where is Mr. Benitez now?

Years after founding the first Narconon center in Los Angeles and then working with the development of the Narconon network, Mr. Benitez returned to Arizona and became the Hearing Officer for inmate complaints for the Arizona Department of Corrections. By doing so, he was able to continue to help inmates in the same prison system that had jailed him. He served in this capacity until his death from natural causes in 1999.

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Does Narconon believe that addiction is a disease?

Establishing a Drug-Free Life

No. The Narconon program does not rely on the concept that substance dependence is a "disease of the brain." Rather it acknowledges that addiction involves a biochemical process in which the body is and has been poisoned and debilitated by the use of "xenobiotic" substances (defined as chemical compounds, such as drugs and pesticides, that are foreign to living organisms). As well, the Narconon program is based on raising abilities in life as the core principle of establishing a firm foundation for a stably drug-free, responsible recovery. As stated by Mr. Benitez himself when he founded the program, "I realized that drug addiction was nothing more than a 'disability,' resulting when a person ceases to use abilities essential to constructive survival."

The Narconon program approaches the problem of substance abuse and addiction applying explicit concepts and defined procedures: As a preliminary step in the rehabilitation process, the program participants are exposed to social setting detoxification; an intervention that includes physical exercise, prescribed periods in a sauna and vitamin/mineral supplementation. This is followed by a series of intensive courses that provide life skills training and help participants to formulate or rediscover a personal, constructive system of values and strategies to maintain a drug-free life style.

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How successful is the Narconon program in helping addicts recover?

Cocaine Rehab Today

As with any drug rehabilitation program, a major component of success is the desire and perseverance of the student in becoming clean and sober. No individual result is guaranteed, but in repeated reviews over the past 40 years, as well as utilizing its own "Routine Outcome Monitoring," the Narconon program has demonstrated consistent results among people who have completed the program far above national and international averages. These results have been noted not just in drug abstinence, but also in reduction in criminal activity or recidivism to prison, and in returning to gainful employment and/or school. For a compilation of Narconon reviews and studies, please see 40 Years of Evidence of Recovery - The Narconon Program Model.

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Why does Narconon work so well?

Life Improvement

Mr. Hubbard spent much of his life researching ways to help people live happier lives and recover from unhappy experiences. His research included developing natural, healthful ways to help people heal mentally, physically and emotionally from the use of drugs since these substances have been shown to have such a lasting and damaging effect. Mr. Benitez's experience with addiction and his care for his fellow inmates paired with Mr. Hubbard's research were a powerful match that resulted in a workable application of Mr. Hubbard's principles in a drug rehab setting. The Narconon program that resulted addresses the whole person, the reasons he or she began using drugs, and the damage done to the body and soul of the addicted person.

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Where are there Narconon centers?

Narconon Locations

There is a worldwide network of over 40 Narconon drug rehabilitation centers and over 200 drug prevention and First Step centers and groups in a total of 47 countries.

You can find Narconon centers spread across the world in these areas:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Italy
  • Nepal
  • Israel
  • Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Australia
  • Taiwain
  • South Africa
  • Egypt
  • Ghana
  • Russia

The international headquarters is located in Los Angeles, California.

Find a Narconon center

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How are Narconon staff members trained?

Narconon's staff training programs cover a wide range of job skills and apprenticeships from Narconon's drug rehabilitation methods to accounting, organizational and administrative training.

While Narconon does train all of its program staff on Narconon's rehabilitation method, there is a wide range of staff that require various licenses and/or certifications from outside state agencies as well in order to perform specific functions in the course of delivering our rehabilitation services to our students. For such staff that require specific certifications necessary to meet their jo description, Narconon networks with the appropriate outside training and credentialing agencies to ensure these training requirements are met.

The training level of the staff at each Narconon is appropriate for the licensing requirements of the jurisdiction. Some of our residential facilities are run by medical doctors and nurses. The larger centers, such as Narconon Arrowhead, employ an array of medical professionals, nurses, intake specialists and certified counselors.

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Does Narconon employ former drug addicts at its facilities?

As with other programs, Narconon does hire graduates of its program and we welcome their desire to pay forward the benefits they have received. Narconon has strict protocols on when a graduate of the program can be hired and the qualifications he or she must meet before being permitted to work with students.

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