The Narconon Programme has come to Britain
Published by Macmillan Journals Limited, London, England; in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence, London, England.
Narconon--new life: Kate Pitt talks to staff and participants
The Narconon programme--which claims to provide "the means to reach greater freedom through increased responsibility"--has come to Britain
By Kate Pitt
Narconon is at its point of inception in the United Kingdom. There are very few graduates of the system as an organisation. Robert Carter is one of the first. He was addicted to drugs for 11 years, and heavily addicted for most of that time. He says, "Narconon was by no means my first attempt to quit drugs.
"I had fourteen attempted cures, supervised by the state or in state hospitals. None made any impression at all. With Narconon I did not have to languish in bed for any part of the time and the withdrawal symptoms were enormously reduced. Now after two weeks in Narconon, I no longer want to take drugs. I now look forward to the future with confidence."
The success stories are there by the hundred. They are full of statements like: "At one stage I considered an LSD trip to be my most natural state. Narconon training drills gave me more satisfaction than any LSD trip ever did."
But technicians are strict. Five years is the real test for a cure, they say. So one is forced to speak relatively when assessing Narconon results. About 85 per cent of people who have completed the course have stayed clean and there is a lot of evidence to show that they are leading very active and productive lives. Arizona State prison, where Narconon was applied to 54 criminals, many of them recidivists, felons and lifers and most of them heavily addicted to hard drugs, has had a success rate of 87.5 per cent.
I asked Rod how close Narconon was to getting money from the government. "That would be a guess. But I don't think you can reasonably ask for money from the government until you've produced consistent results. Too many groups demand money in order to produce, rather than asking on the basis of their results. We haven't started producing on a large scale yet." In the United States and in Sweden, Narconon has received government subsidy. The organisation operates in the States, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand now Britain.
I read references, statements and reports by doctors, psychiatrists, personnel officers, government members, endowing bodies, educators, members of research institutes and representatives as conferences. (Narconon was represented at the International Conference on Drug Dependence in Liverpool in April this year. The common point which emerges was that Narconon deserves consideration because it is a workable system.
But what about people who don't believe anything works? "I should point out as a reality that you might be forced to write off this present generation of drug users, because conventional treatment techniques are too expensive and even then, few recover." (Dr. Griffith, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry member of research team on addiction, Vanderbilt University in testimony before the House Committee on crime, 11 November 1969 abstracted from Narconon public relations release).
Or how can you get through to the druggie who is so far into apathy that he won't respond? Or who has had so many "cures" that he's nearly dead with weariness? How can you talk to him without him thinking Narconon is just another cure that will fail?
Rod said with a little impatience: "How do you say that a table is not a chair? You can talk and argue all night. Philosophy is a marvelous thing. But if he wants to know whether it's not like something else, he's got to get in, try it, and if he doesn't like it, leave."
Rod's remark reflects the spirit of Narconon people to a large extent. But Patrick's answer is probably the most inspiring, if one accepts the agonies and the suffering of the drug addict as a driving force behind the present day scramble for understanding and solutions to addiction.
"You can show a guy in five minutes that Narconon works. You can get into communication with him, acknowledge him, hear what he is saying. When I talk to a guy about Narconon I don't tell him to do anything. I just communicate to him."