The Narconon First Step Drug Withdrawal Program
The Narconon First Step Program – Voluntary, Drug-Free and Pain-Free Drug Withdrawal Utilizing Specific Nutrition and Other Assists. Authors: Clark Carr (President Narconon International) and Carl Smith (FASE, Foundation for the Advancements of Science and Education), presented to the hope2002 International Conference on HIV/AIDS and Substance Abuse, Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India 1-3 December, 2002 by Mr. Carr.
For an active drug addict day-to-day survival is a fearsome challenge. He knows that he threatens his life with every use of a dirty or shared needle. What he buys on the street is of unknown quality and may contain dangerous contaminants. The heroin or cocaine or methamphetamine, for example, may be cut with powerful, kick-producing poisons such as strychnine, arsenic, cyanide. What really are those pills he or she is popping? The addict must support an expensive, usually illegal habit — if not illegal, shameful and secret. Once ready cash runs short, the addict must turn to lying, cheating, stealing, at first from friends and family and then from anyone. Violence may become a way of life. Sooner or later, he is willing to sell anything including his or her own body and personal integrity for drugs, no longer to get high, but rather not to feel sick.
The addict knows that he will get sick if he tries to stop drugs, because most do try to stop or are forced to from lack of income or lack of drugs, or by being arrested. Withdrawal symptoms from heavy alcohol are mind-shattering and life-threatening. Withdrawal from opiates includes extreme muscle and stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, anxiety heightened to an extreme by prolonged sleeplessness. Withdrawal from stimulants involves extreme exhaustion and depression that can border on or lead to suicide. From tranquilizers one feels rapidly increasing anxiety and sleeplessness. Poly-abusers suffer from it all. Factor in the poisons, the effects of starvation and malnutrition, and you have virtually every unpleasant physical, mental and emotional somatic or feeling known.
In general, the medical approach to pain is to block it with drugs. Unfortunately, such medications are subject to abuse in situations where staff shortages make it difficult or impossible to provide extended personal care. The extreme physical discomfort of withdrawal, and the emotional distress it brings, are difficult to confront, much less manage. While it is not hard to understand why medications would be used to suppress withdrawal symptoms, long experience indicates that this approach does not serve the addict well.
Based on his predisposition to self-medicate, the addict will take anything you give him to avoid “kicking cold turkey.” Anything to suppress the symptoms. Separately, there is the school of chemically replacing the illicit drug metabolite with another that blocks its uptake by nerve cells. Opiate blockers include methadone, naltrexone, buprenorphine, etc. Tranquilizers are given to suppress delirium tremens from alcohol. One tranquilizer substitutes for another in tranquilizer withdrawal. One opiate or pseudo-opiate for another. The insistence on the use of chemicals to handle chemical abuse is so ingrained that the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has defined drug detoxification as “planned withdrawal from drug dependency supported by the use of a prescribed medication.”
Methadone directly affects the body for 36 hours, much longer than heroin, and thus proves considerably more difficult to withdraw from than heroin itself. Some addicts abuse methadone directly. I personally had one client who came to my center in Los Angeles from Switzerland who never used heroin at all; his addiction was purely to methadone. Nevertheless, the treatment side of the “harm minimization” school could be said to have evolved in response to the medical, psychological, and socio-political question, “Can addicts actually withdraw from and not revert to addictive drugs?” The apparent answer has too often been “No.” And that describes the life of an addict.
There is no doubt that the addict is sick. Physically. The drugs or alcohol he is using make him feel so or are themselves camouflaging or self-medicating symptoms of malnutrition or other illness. There are many who say he might also be mentally ill. Many indicators of mental distress, however, can also be explained by the side effects of drug use, drug withdrawal and/or the body’s continuing attempt to detoxify poisonous drug metabolites.
The toxicity of drugs and their affect on behavior, both during and after use, have been well graphically represented. Dr. Megan Shields studied 249 persons who reported having used psycho-active drugs and reported in this “Key Symptoms Graph” symptoms such as nervousness, irritability, depression, decreased mental acuity, stress intolerance, etc. The grey line is what is felt on drugs, not pleasant. Being off them, but now drug toxic is rarely much better.
The body load of drugs that constitutes addicts’ nourishment has a dramatic affect on the mood and behavior and biological function of the healthiest organism. Addicts, however, live in a perpetual nutritional deficiency. Worse, an increasing body of evidence is documenting the ways that drugs accelerate the depletion of the few biochemical resources they do have. This may be most powerfully demonstrated by the improvements that result when essential nutrients are replenished.
Extant science has shown that alcoholics, for example, are seriously deficient in vitamins A, E,, C, B1 (thiamine), and B6. These deficiencies then impede cognition and further “can produce confusion and psychotic symptoms” (as stated by Petrie and Ban in the 1985 issue of the journal Drugs.) Dosages of thiamine plus B12 and folate have been shown to prevent alcohol-induced psychosis, or Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Depressant abuse addicts have been helped with a basic vitamin package plus amino acids phenylalanine and glutamine. Stimulant abuse patients with phenylalanine, tyrosine, and glutamine. Notes indicate that taurine calms down addicts coming off drugs and reduces their upset. Other work with simple orthomolecular treatment, including Calcium and Magnesium as well as other vitamins for the first week of withdrawal and amino acids later, showed rapid improvement in psychological test scores. Many experiments have shown the calming effects of Tryptophan with addicts in withdrawal.
My own personal experience from 1985 to 1995 directing a Narconon drug rehabilitation residential treatment center included withdrawing addicts from alcohol and many addictive drugs, illicit and medicinal. In hundreds of cases I observed that treatment with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids greatly reduces the discomforts of drug withdrawal.
To anyone experienced in the field of rehabilitation, the recommendation that nutrients, not drugs, should be used to facilitate withdrawal would seem to increase, not decrease, the demands on care givers. This then presents another problem: How do we deal with a burgeoning worldwide population of alcohol and other drug addicts where residential rehabilitation beds are scarce or non-existent?
Can we hospitalize them all? Clearly not. Imprisoning them is simply a barbaric non-medical hospitalization. It should not be surprising that replacement drug therapy has seemed to offer a relatively economical and efficient solution.
Is this really all we can offer the suffering addict? What if there were a simple, proven, inexpensive, non-residential protocol that could help addicts through the first stage of simply coming off drugs? To help them to withdraw so that real treatment could begin?
I would like to discuss here a successful experiment conducted by Narconon International over several years in different facilities around the world with different ethnic populations, from widely varying economic and social circumstances. At this time we call this simply the Narconon First Step Program.
Let me first briefly describe Narconon and its history. Initially, the Narconon program was a strict social-education model, consisting of communication and confronting drills and rigorous course study on ethics and life skills. This was in 1966 when it was a prison program, founded in the United States in Arizona State Prison by heroin addict William Benitez, based upon his reading in the prison library of the philosophical self-help works of L. Ron Hubbard. But soon after he was pardoned and released because of his work inside prison, Benitez ran into the traditional difficulties of handling heroin and other drug withdrawal symptoms at the first Narconon residential center in Los Angeles.
Believing that drugs and pain medications were much more the problem than the solution, and further that such medications had pernicious and long-term damaging effects on the mind, Benitez asked Mr. Hubbard for help to come up with non-medicinal, nutritional and mutual-help-based methods to provide effective relief from the real as well as psychosomatic pains, anxieties and other discomforts of withdrawal, including the inability to sleep.
Researched and developed by Mr. Hubbard in the 1970s, these methods have been used in Narconon residential centers to accomplish speedy, effective withdrawal for three decades. In 120 centers in 31 countries, we have helped over 10,000 addicts to safely withdraw from drugs. In residential treatment, the addicts are assisted by NN staff, themselves often former abusers and now Narconon program graduates, trained and interned as Withdrawal Specialists. We have found that ex-addicts have the advantage of truly understanding both the pain and anxiety of withdrawal and the real relief that properly administered nutritional supplements and related care can bring. Further, in case after case, ex-addicts who help others through withdrawal gain greater confidence in their own sobriety and their ability to be productive members of society.
This approach has enabled Narconon to rise above the often crippling shortage of staff resources. We simply create them from the population we have treated.
We have now gone one step further. In the last few years we have made it possible for these same residential tools to be delivered in a non-residential, seminar format. In fact, we can now teach addicts how to voluntarily withdraw themselves.
We call this the Narconon First Step Program.
Though we may consider this still to be somewhat in the pilot stage, by most standards it is an international grass-roots movement.
It has had continuing success in Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth, Australia. In the United States in Los Angeles, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Clearwater, Florida; in Idaho and New Mexico. It was used successfully in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It is working today in Jakarta, Indonesia, in Buenos Aires, Argentina; in Belgium and Malmo, Sweden; in Mexican prisons, and in a new center forming now in Hyderabad, Pakistan. Treatment populations have included Australian aborigines, New Zealand Maoris, African-Americans recently released from prison, upscale Caucasians, Mexican prison inmates, Swedish gypsies, men and women of all ages.
To date we estimate that we have enabled in excess of 1,250 alcohol and other drug addicts to take this first step.
The First Step program was first piloted in 1997 by Dr. Nerida James, a Narconon colleague with a nutritional naturopathic clinic in Melbourne. Informal evaluation of her results showed that 80% of those who came in still high on many different drugs (including heroin, cocaine, heavy marijuana, etc.) successfully withdrew and were off drugs within 30 days. Voluntarily.
Although delivery has varied depending upon the setting, the basic Narconon First Step Program is composed of these key points:
- It is a non-residential SEMINAR-style program. (This format means that one can deal with addicts in larger numbers without needing residential or even out-patient quarters, or even any formal facility at all.)
- The seminar is delivered in one or two days to still-using addicts, along with drug-free “buddies,” as well as to interested professionals.
- Addicts come in voluntarily. They are treated as “students,” not patients.
- They are given exact techniques to use to withdraw themselves voluntarily off drugs, day by day, gradiently. That is, the addict chooses his own rate to step down off the drug or drugs he is using, as he finds it confrontable and more or less comfortable to do. There is no enforcement in this procedure.
- After completing the seminar or workshop, they do this on a step-by-step basis, calling in daily to report how they are progressing. Or when facilities or transportation allows, they may come in daily to give or get what we call “assists” (and which I will shortly demonstrate). And to get vitamins and minerals, if they have not taken them home with them.
- Withdrawal is normally completed within 30 days of the initial seminar or workshop.
I can almost hear the obvious question: “Are they permanently off drugs?”
The answer is, “No. This is only their first step.”
But it is not a small step. Once off drugs, these people have a chance to live days not under the stress of possible arrest, incarceration, hospitalization, or of being fired from their job or thrown out of the house.
Having withdrawn from drugs, even initially, how have their lives changed? They now have a chance to eat well and sleep well. They can find and follow drug rehabilitation on an out-patient or non-residential basis somewhere. They can cease lying and or committing daily crimes to support a shameful or illegal habit. They can cease threatening their life with daily drug use. And they are no longer daily at risk of contracting HIV from dirty needles or promiscuous sex had while intoxicated on one or another drug.
We are beginning to see some evidence that First Step graduates can stay off drugs. In one variation of the program, a Narconon colleague in Florida recently trained eighteen addicts on a one-by-one basis, rather than in a seminar. An informal survey shows that sixteen of the eighteen were still drug free a year later. There may be several explanations for this remarkable statistic, including the cases she selected to help. But we do know that each of these individuals has reported that he or she would otherwise still be abusing drugs if not for the training received.
These preliminary findings call for serious studies. Perhaps, you will help us with this. But I also refer you to a concept that may be familiar to many of you: something known as the “precautionary principle.” More science will follow; but we do know that this program involves no risk to participants, and has shown benefits in over a thousand cases. And it should not be forgotten that it draws upon techniques that have been successfully utilized at Narconon centers for 30 years.
Given the terrible spread of AIDS and heroin and other addiction in India, Africa, Russia, and elsewhere, including still in my own country, precautionary measures are much needed. I bring this training protocol to you simply to present it and to say, “Look. Listen. Don’t pre-judge. Try it. See for yourself.”
It can be done very, very cheaply.
I have here only a few minutes to discuss and demonstrate some of the fundamental basics of the Narconon First Step procedure. But we can train anyone, willing to give it an honest try, in a few days. It certainly helps if you have tried to withdraw persons in the past, so that one has reality on the changes addicts go through. But it is not necessary.
First, L. Ron Hubbard devised a nutritional tool from commonly accepted nutritional fundamentals to provide the vital minerals of Calcium and Magnesium in appropriate amounts for quick absorption. Magnesium deficiency has for decades been associated with alcoholism, and magnesium has been recommended as a supplement to ease withdrawal. ,  In a simple bulletin on the subject, Mr. Hubbard said, “Muscular spasms are caused by lack of calcium. Nervous reactions are diminished by magnesium. Calcium does not go into solution in the body and is not utilized unless it is in an acid.”,  He conceived a simple solution, which he named Cal-Mag and which you can now find in many health food and vitamin stores worldwide. To achieve the proper balance of one part magnesium to two parts calcium, Hubbard uses 6 parts Calcium Gluconate to 1 part Magnesium Carbonate. Mix with the same amount as Calcium cider or other vinegar for the acid and then dilute in hot water, you come up with a palatable drink, one to three glasses of which daily act very well as a general replacement for tranquilizers. Additional uses are to relieve headaches and to aid rest and sleep. Instant formulations are available, but need to have the ingredients in correct proportion and an acid base (which could include ascorbic or citric acid or pure lemon juice).
Another key vitamin and mineral formulation developed by Hubbard to combat the effects of withdrawal we call popularly the Drug Bomb. Hubbard acknowledged nutritional authority Adelle Davis with regard to this formulation. During Narconon residential intensive withdrawal, 24-hour-a-day staff-assisted coming off drugs, the Drug Bomb is given roughly every six hours over a period of a few days. It is best given in prepared “enteric coated” tablets, meaning providing an absorption shield so that the vitamins gradually dissolve and don’t hit the addict’s sensitive upper stomach and corrode it. It can be given up to four times a day during intense withdrawal.
The formula  is:
1,000 mg niacinamide (not niacin),
5,000 IU of vitamin A,
400 IU of vitamin D,
800 IU of vitamin E,
2,000 mg vitamin C,
500 mg magnesium carbonate,
25 mg B6,
200 mg B complex,
300 mg B1
100 mg pantothenic acid
The Drug Bomb should not be taken on an empty stomach, but after meals or, in between meals, with yogurt. Hubbard recommends milk with powdered amino acids to wash it down. The main barrier to overcome, especially with alcoholics or drug addicts with damaged stomach lining, is the lining corrosion which can produce a burning sensation and other pseudo-ulcer symptoms. Taken with proper buffers such as milk or banana or protein shakes and yogurt, this usually can be avoided. If not, one simply discontinues the Drug Bomb and gives standard aluminum hydroxide tablets. Powdered amino acids, yogurt, and milk can then help the addict with nutrition until his stomach gets better.
Mr. Hubbard stated in his initial bulletin on this formula that he was “not particularly advocating the use of the Drug Bomb” but that he felt that “any data of value on the subject of drug withdrawal should be widely published.” We have tested the use of this combination in Narconon centers for 30 years and have found it to be effective, as stated. I can attest to this personally, having used the Drug Bomb for ten years withdrawing addicts in my own center. It is not a cure-all, or in fact a “cure” at all. It is an aide to ease both the physical and the mental agonies of withdrawal.
A not uncommon problem with addicts withdrawing from drugs, including occasionally with this procedure, is continued diarrhea. A simple handling recommended by one doctor is one to two teaspoons of acidophilus powder and electrolytes so they do not become dehydrated or weak.
Some have remarked on the high dosages involved. However, there are cogent reasons for them. In 30 years of using this formula to assist withdrawal, there have been no reported cases of harm caused by these supplements. I would not want to brush aside legitimate scientific concerns, but there is admittedly a certain irony in suggesting that persons whose usual routine is to smoke crack or inject heroin should be protected from toxic nutrients.
It should be underscored that the Drug Bomb is suggested only for a few days, or at lower dosage for a few weeks. Then, there is the factor of nutrient malabsorption caused by alcohol and other drugs, which can be solved in the short term, even while a person continues alcohol or other drug use, with significant vitamin supplementation, as stated by Green in Clinical Gastroenterology in 1983.  As Ryle and Thompson noted in Contemporary Issues in Clinical Biology, “The alcoholic has increased nutrient requirements due to greater metabolic demands and the need for tissue repair.” This is true for other drugs besides alcohol.
B1 and B complex in fairly large doses are part of standard treatment for alcoholism and other drug withdrawal. Pantothenic acid, as the European Commission Scientific Committee of Food indicated in a recent study, has never shown itself to be a toxic nutrient and the Narconon dosage indicated is completely safe.
Regarding Vitamin C, the UK Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals stated that there are numerous reports of much larger doses than needed to treat C-deficiency scurvy as proving beneficial. On the contrary, vitamin C has often been stated not only to be non-toxic, but has been known even since the 1930’s to be itself the principal drug-detoxifying vitamin. Moreover, studies have shown for decades that under severe stress human vitamin C requirement increases enormously, with as much as 5000 mgs needed daily. Drug withdrawal would certainly fall under that category.
Niacinamide is the metabolite of niacin or nicotinic acid, vitamin B3. Frequently, reports of liver damage associated with large doses of niacin have been mistakenly understood to apply to all forms of this nutrient. In fact, these earlier studies referred to experience of patients who developed hepatitis while receiving slow-release niacin therapy. Slow-release, however, has a distinctly different effect on the body than instant-release or crystalline niacin.
This distinction was explored in a paper published in 1990 in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Henkin, Johnson, et al. They found that not only is instant-release crystalline niacin not associated with liver damage, it can actually repair liver-damage caused by slow-release niacin. In fact, patients who had received crystalline niacin therapy for as long as six to ten months maintained normal liver function tests.
The Narconon First Step use of niacinamide is intended to continue anywhere from a few days to a maximum of a few weeks. It should also be mentioned that taking niacinamide instead of niacin bypasses the sometimes uncomfortable, but not harmful, “skin flush” effect of niacin.
CalMag and the Drug Bomb are not the only important components of the First Step protocol. An important third component is something we call an “assist.”
Simply put, an assist is “an action undertaken to help a person confront physical difficulties or present time discomfort.” These assists are not substitutes for medical treatment, and they are not claimed to cure injuries requiring medical aid. What they have proven to do is to speed the recovery process.
Someone experiencing physical pain often wants to turn away from it, or put another way, to “non-confront” it, to suppress it, in other words to avoid the symptoms. He takes drugs or medication to suppress the symptoms. This is perfectly fine, occasionally, for something like a headache. But for someone in withdrawal from pain medication, opiates, for example, to substitute the one opiate with some other version is defeating the process of withdrawing from opiates.
What the Hubbard assists accomplish is to bring a person in such a state to confront on a gradient scale the functioning system of the body, its nervous system, etc. In actual use these assists are swift and comforting. Additionally, they can be taught anyone, an addict, for example, or even a child wanting to help himself.
This type of approach is not unknown in the field of drug rehabilitation treatment. For example, the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy acknowledges the importance of the environment in recovery. Their chapter on Alcoholism states, “Many patients can be detoxified without drugs if proper attention is paid to psychologic support and reassurance and if the approach and environment are nonthreatening.” They continue to state, “However, these methods may not be possible in general hospitals or emergency departments.”
The purpose of Mr. Hubbard’s “objective assists” is specifically to bring someone in recovery to the point of recognizing the fact of a “non-threatening” environment, which itself is the most effective “psychologic support and reassurance” one can give. This can be contrasted with “sympathy,” such as comments, “Now, now, calm down, everything will be okay,” which is an entirely different thing, and in fact does not bring a person to feel non-threatened at all and is really not effective in drug withdrawal.
With your permission and perhaps participation, I would like to demonstrate one of these hands-on procedures, called a Nerve Assist.  In withdrawal, this is particularly helpful to those experiencing cramps. I have earlier gotten a guinea pig to agree foolishly to let me demonstrate upon him in public. There are other assist tables, like a chiropractor’s table, which if anyone else would like to experience this, he may. I have a number of people here trained how to do this. Even Dr. Merchant has received this, as an experiment, and I do believe found the effect to be soothing and relaxing. In the bulletin introducing this procedure, Mr. Hubbard says, “In our theory, it is nerves that hold muscles tense, which then hold the spine out of place.” He explains that nerves carry the shock of impacts and other pain, and that these shocks do not always dissipate, and sometimes the nerve messages coming and going produce “standing waves” — a kind of frozen tension. “The Nerve Assist,” he says, “consists of gently releasing the standing waves in the nerve channels of the body, improving communication with the body and bringing the individual relief.” Let me demonstrate.
(Mr. Carr demonstrated this assist done live at table in view of the entire conference.)
You can see that this is a simple procedure, simple enough to teach virtually anyone. We have a manual that does exactly that. Even someone in the stupor of a difficult midnight withdrawal can give such an assist, and others similar to them. They inevitably help for a while, for example 30 minutes to an hour window of relief, which repeated, keeps the addict deciding to stick with it.
Hubbard designed another style of assist to address mental or emotional discomfort, which might include sadness or depression about past losses and actions, or personal anxiety about the future, but always could be said to be a kind of disorientation. That is, the addict in withdrawal finds it difficult to be in the “here and now,” which may in fact be realistically hard to confront. Agonizing or miserable, at the least. Mr. Hubbard’s genius was in using the here-and-now environment outside of and around a person to help unstick him from the past or fear of the future and to bring him back to a more confrontable reality of the present moment. These are called objective assists,  as they use the objective environment to direct the person’s attention gradiently and without force or duress out from a subjective disorientation.
Not having time to demonstrate this I would like to show simply an example of (video) teaching some college students in Mumbai a simple objective assist, how to temporarily sober someone up who is drunk. You can see that it is composed of merely directing an inebriated person’s attention to large objects around him until he comes into present time and you can get in better communication and control, such as asking for car keys or to drink a cup of coffee, or some such. I have used this assist with potential clients who were brought into my Narconon rehabilitation center by friends or family, the person being too inebriated or stoned to take into an intake counseling interview. A few minutes walk and pointing out the environment and often the person would at least temporarily sober up enough to talk about the situation. It works. There are many specific, different kinds of objective exercises in the Narconon First Step manual, each of which helps externalize a person’s attention and bring him into better communication with his environment and thus with his counselor, too.
Let me summarize.
The Narconon First Step Program is designed to help the addict take the first step toward recovery: the conscious act of ceasing drug use.
To accomplish this routine objective, the First Step program utilizes a combination of unique therapies that have been implemented in Narconon centers for over three decades. Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the program is that the addict is trained to accomplish his own withdrawal - with assistance from a friend or another addict.
Again, these are the elements of the withdrawal process:
- Inexpensive, readily composable vitamin and mineral formulas,
- Simple assists one person can do to help another — even a disoriented, or anxious and depressed addict.
- And someone to maintain communication with in using them, on a day-to-day basis.
We can demonstrate these tools and teach their simple use in only a few hours or a day or two, maximum, to addicts themselves or to drug-free family members or friends who may wish to help them step down off drugs. The instruction can be done with an individual, one-on-one in his or her home or in a clinic office, or to a group in a small meeting hall or a community or church facility. It can (and has been) done even inside jail or prison to teach inmates how to help one another.
As you can see, all of this can be done voluntarily and thus is less of a frightening prospect to an addict, who understands that he can take these vitamin supplements and do these assists and decide on his own determinism when to start stepping down off the drugs he is on and at a rate of his own choosing. You will notice that I have not said that one dictates to the addict when to step down. This is his own choice. He may need to take the vitamins and do the assists for a few days before he feels confident to start withdrawing. Fine. It’s up to him, not you.
You can even teach the First Step to completely illiterate persons, just demonstrating its points and showing, “Do it this way.” This makes this technique available to extremely poor and rural environments.
In other words, although it can be used by professionals such as medical doctors, drug rehabilitation program staffs, social workers, police officers, etc., the NN First Step Program is designed most especially for use where there are no drug rehabilitation facilities, where there may be no professionals available to provide service or not nearly enough, also where funding may be non-existent, and also in urban inner-city drug-infested neighborhoods where only a recognized individual could realistically go in to show these techniques to others who have no concept that there is a door, a way out of the daily hell of addiction. This would include volunteers working with church community centers, schools or colleges, family members or drug-free friends of addicts, jail or prison inmates, or anyone wanting to help reduce drug usage in his or her community, school, institution, or area.
It is my experience, having taught this and demonstrated it personally in many different cities and social environments, that many addicts who appear not to want to stop their drug use, in truth do not know how to stop, or are just afraid (with good reason) of unassisted withdrawal pain. Anyone who has ever seen heroin or tranquilizer or alcohol withdrawal knows that the pain is real.
I’d like to close with a practical anecdote. One attendee of a First Step seminar I gave was a mother who spoke only Spanish. She had never used illegal drugs. She was addicted to Vicodin (or hydrocodone), a highly addictive and powerful painkiller, liberally prescribed by doctors in America. Her husband and children knew she was taking many, many more of these pills daily than she once had to. She told them she wanted to stop, but that she did not know how. After coming to my radio-advertised workshop with some fear and trepidation, and spending a few hours learning and practicing these techniques and starting to take the vitamins and CalMag, she wrote in a letter of success at the end of the day, “When I came this morning, I was not sure about coming because it seemed impossible to me to stop taking so many pills, but throughout the day I learned that I am a person and that I have value and that I can learn how to live a drug-free life… After the practice we did I see the real value of taking a walk and of other exercises and of the Nerve Assists and vitamins… I may even be able to help others who need it.” “I learned that I am a person, that I have value.” You can see that giving simple, confrontable, usable tools to step down off drugs can be a life-changing experience for an addict.
This seminar was in a small town in rural Idaho in the western United States. We delivered it in association with a non-Narconon rehab counseling center. The director there has told me that this woman succeeded in coming off Vicodin, that she taught her husband and children what I had taught her in the workshop, and they helped her step down off the drug over thirty days. Two years later, she is still drug free.
An instruction manual in the Narconon First Step Program is available.  We are also willing to do demonstration workshops on site, limited only by availability of trained personnel. We offer this technology to the professional community in hope that instead of our treating a few thousands, this technology might be able to reach hundreds of thousands worldwide. Perhaps, we can increase it to millions and begin to really make a dent.
If anyone here is skeptical, you have every right to be. Time after time you are told that addiction is an incurable disease. You are offered evidence that the only relief is substitute or blocking medications, painkillers or tranquilizers. I wouldn’t demand that you accept everything I’ve told you about the Narconon First Step Program. But I would suggest you try it. Note first hand how it works on real, suffering addicts. Let them tell you themselves.
 “Drug Rehabilitation - A New Perspective,” page 7, FASE, Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education, Vol. 8 No. 1 Winter 1989-90
 Mechanisms of vitamin deficiencies in alcoholism, Hoyumpa AM, Alcohol Clin Exp Res 1986 Dec 10:573-81. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1530-0277.1986.tb05147.x/abstract
 Bjorneboe & Bjorneboe, 1993, Alcohol and Alcoholism Vol 28: 111-116. http://alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/content/28/1.toc
 Odeleye et al, 1991, Alcohol Vol 8: 273-277. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/074183299190353X
 Adult scurvy, Hirschmann JV, Raugi GJ, J Am Acad Dermatol 1999 Dec 41:895-906; quiz 907-10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10570371
 Merck Manual of Diagnosis & Therapy, Chptr 195 - Drug Use & Dependence: Alcoholism, 2002
 Cognitive effects of nutritional deficiency, Rosenthal MJ, Goodwin JS, Adv Nutr Res 1985 7:71-100. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3913300
 Vitamins in psychiatry. Do they have a role?, Petrie WM, Ban TA, Drugs 1985 Jul 30:58-65. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3896744
 Mechanisms of vitamin deficiency in chronic alcohol misusers and the development of the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, Thomson AD, Alcohol Alcohol Suppl 35 Suppl 1:2-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11304071
 “Methodology: Use of Orthomolecular Techniques for Alcohol and Drug Abuse in a Post-Detox Setting,” Libby et al, 1982, Orthomolecular Psychiatry Vol 11: 277-288. http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1984-32444-001
 Magnesium deficiency in alcohol addiction and withdrawal, Shane SR, Flink EB, Magnes Trace Elem 10:263-8 http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Serum+ionized+magnesium+in+chronic+alcoholism%3A+is+it+really+decreased%3F-a0209621912
 Role of magnesium and calcium in alcohol-induced hypertension and strokes as probed by in vivo television microscopy, digital image microscopy, optical spectroscopy, 31P-NMR, spectroscopy and a unique magnesium ion-selective electrode, Altura BM, Altura BT, Alcohol Clin Exp Res 1994 Oct 18:1057-68 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7847586
 Drugs, More About, Hubbard LR, 1974, Technical Bulletins, Vol. X: 660-661
 Calcium bioavailability and absorption: a review, Allen LH, Am J Clin Nutr 1982 Apr 35:783-808 http://www.ajcn.org/content/35/4/783.full.pdf+html
 Narconon “First Step” Program-Effective Methods for Drug-Free Withdrawal, based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard by Narconon International staff, pg 24, 2002.
 Hubbard LR, Drugs Drying Out, Technical Bulletins
 Alcohol, nutrition and malabsorption, Green PH, Clin Gastroenterol 1983 May 12:563-74. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6409471
 Nutrition and vitamins in alcoholism, Ryle PR, Thomson AD, Contemp Issues Clin Biochem 1984 1:188-224. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6400499
 Merck Manual, op cit., Alcoholism: Treatment/Withdrawal.
 “Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of Pantothenic Acid,” 18 April 2002, http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/scf/index_en.html.
 UK Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, pg 9 ff, EVM/99⁄21.RevisedAugust2002 http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/vitaminc.pdf
 Baroriak JJ,et al., Journal of Nutrition 63, 601, 1957. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/63/4/591.full.pdf+html
 Nutritional Review 15, 185, 1957. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1753-4887.1957.tb00539.x/abstract Also, Sulzberger MB, et al., Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 32, 716, 1935; Cormia FE, Canadian Medical Association Journal 36, 392, 1937. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1562048/; Cohen MB, Journal of Allergy 10, 15, 1938. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0021870745903534
 Dugal LP, et al., Endocrinology 44, 420, 1949. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/115/2996/598.extract
 “Rechallenge with Crystalline Niacin after Drug-Induced Hepatitis from Sustained-Release Niacin,” Henkin Y, Johnson KC, Segrest JP, Journal of the American Medical Association, 11 July 1990. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2355446
 Merck Manual, op. cit.
 Hubbard LR, “The Nerve Assist,” Narconon “First Step” Program-Effective Methods for Drug-Free Withdrawal, 33 - 37, 2002.
 Hubbard, op cit, pg 34
 Hubbard LR, “Light Objective Exercise,” Narconon “First Step” Program-Effective Methods for Drug-Free Withdrawal, 48-49, 2002.
 Narconon “First Step” Program-Effective Methods for Drug-Free Withdrawal, based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard by Narconon International staff, Narconon International, 7060 Hollywood Blvd. Suite 220, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
Copyright © 2002 by Narconon International. NARCONON is a trademark and service mark owned by Association for Better Living and Education International and is used with its permission.
The Narconon history.