Narconon Established and Battling Addiction
The Arizona Daily Star
Monday, August 1, 1966
Arizona Prison Inmates Battling Dope Addiction
FLORENCE - In 1947, 13-year-old Willie Benitez was walking along a Tucson street with friends, going to play baseball.
From the porch of a house, a man offered them a "chance to fly" by smoking a cigarette. Willie's friends refused, but when the man said, "Willie'll do it; he ain't chicken," the challenge was there. Willie smoked his first marijuana cigarette.
The result was lifelong dope addiction and Benitez, now a 32-year-old inmate at Arizona State Prison, has tried heroin, which "you can no longer get in Tucson," morphine, and many other drugs.
Warden Frank Eyman says there is nothing Benitez doesn't know about dope.
During his addiction, Benitez has been through two marriages, both ending in divorce, and is a "four-time loser" where prison is concerned.
When he wasn't on dope, Benitez could hold responsible jobs and, although never graduated from high school, writes shorthand, is widely read in psychology, and is an accomplished musician, playing clarinet and saxophone in the prison band.
Benitez is also founder of a new approach to kicking narcotics and has established what is known at the prison as "Narconon."
He points out, proudly, he coined the phrase and has set up the program which some 20 addicts at the prison follow in the hope of kicking their habit.
Kicking The Habit
William C. Benitez, 32, has a 19-year history of dope addiction, but along with 20 other inmates of the Arizona State Prison is working to kick the habit. He is chairman of "Narconon," an organization for addicts founded at the prison.