article from 1981 Priest River Times

Priest River Times

Thursday, May 14, 1981

Education, communication said keys to solving drug problem

By Nancy Wolff

Education and communication are the keys that John Duff offers to communities to help them solve their drug problems. "Scare tactics don't work on the kids," he said when he spoke to a group of about 50 parents and students who met at the Priest River Junior High library.

Even though he had spoken to about seven school classes earlier in the day, this reformed drug user was still "high".

"I get high doing what I enjoy," he continued. And getting high on life is part of the rehabilitation program offered by Narconon.

"Ours is a drug oriented society." he said, illustrating his discussion with chalkboard drawings of sketchy graphs and cartoon characters to emphasize some point. With all the pressure from advertising, it's no wonder kids are smoking pot, he said.

The media glamorizes drug use -- drugs to cure headaches, drugs to make you feel good -- while on the other hand the government has nothing to counter with. "The federal government spends about two billion on anti-drug information," he said, "but only a small percentage on drug enforcement."

As an off-shoot of Narconon though, a group known as Friends of Narconon will begin bombarding the media shortly with anti-drug information. Composed of a group of celebrities, they will attempt to countaract the influence of the ads that promote escapism through alcohol, aspirin and the like.

Dressed in a fashionable three piece striped suit, Duff punctuated his lecture with humor, frequently stopping to ask the audience "are you getting my drift."

But the main emphasis of his discussion was the need to educate parents and kids about what drugs can do. "Communication is the most effective way to deal with the problem."

"Most kids who come into contact with drugs do so because they are having trouble coping with the adjustments they have to make -- whether it's adjusting to school pressures or whatever."

Stressing that Narconon's only connection with the Church of Scientology is that "we just have permission to use their rehabilitation program of nutrition, sauna or purification, and exercise," Duff said that their program is non-sectarian. "We don't stress any one particular religion. Religion is an individual matter."

The program, which began in 1966, now has about 23 centers around the world. In the U.S. alone, about 100 of its personnel conduct education programs. Most of these are also reformed drug users, Duff added.

Usually about 2,400 persons per year go through the program. The program, billed as "the Narconon bridge to a new life without drugs" consists of about ten courses ranging from "The Withdrawal Program," to "Key to Living Course" and finally "Handling sources of trouble course." With a minimum price tag of $500, the programs themselves can become quite addictive.

Duff concluded, saying that the ultimate responsibility for drug education lies with the general public. "We can't hold the police or schools responsible for our children."

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