Narconon Achieves 70 Percent Success Rate in Arizona State Prison

Narconon Achieves at least a 70 Percent Success Rate in the Arizona Prison

The Arizona Republic
Phoenix, Arizona, December 9, 1972

Felon plan lowers use of narcotics
by John Schwartz

A national narcotics rehabilitation program, which started in the Arizona State Prison, is achieving at least a 70 percent rate of success, its national supervisor said here yesterday.

"More than half of those successes have been with the hard heroin addicts," said Arthur J. Maren of Narconon, which began six years ago.

Maren, 30 of Los Angeles, who is meeting in Phoenix this weekend with state and city leaders, said Narconon has more than 200 gradates.

Successful graduates are those who have gone through the program, been released from prison and have stayed off drugs and out of prison, he said. More than 60 of the graduates have come from the Arizona State Prison.

Narconon was founded in 1966 by prison inmate William Benitez, who was serving his fourth prison sentence on drug charges. He had been a heroin addict for 19 years.

Benitez is now living in Los Angeles near Narconon's national headquarters, a 25-room mansion provided rent-free for four years by a private donor.

Maren said Narconon, which has 20 programs operating throughout North America, receives funds from private foundations, government and individuals.

Maren said the basis of the Narconon program is responsibility.

"People who turn to drugs have a history of irresponsibility," he explained.

Narconon uses the approach that drug users and others who commit crimes have problems in life which they try to solve with the use of drugs or by committing crimes, Maren said.

"Narconon employs procedures which enable the person to solve these problems without drugs or by turning to crime," he said. "We feel anyone can be turned around and begin a new life."

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