Reducing Crime and Drug Abuse

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NARCONON Provides an Effective Solution to Reducing Crime and Drug Abuse


The purpose of Narconon is the reduction of crime and drug abuse in this society, and the rehabilitation of the individuals concerned. It is achieving this purpose through the application of its highly workable technology.


Narconon was first established in Arizona State Prison in 1966 for the rehabilitation of drug addicts. The Chairman, William Benitez, had a long history of drug use. At the age of 13, soon after his mother died, he started smoking marijuana. Before long he had graduated to heavier drugs- heroin, morphine and opium. He left school to join the marines but was discharged as a drug user. At the age of 15 he had his first run-in with the police, and until he left prison for the last time at 33 years of age, spent most of his time in State and Federal penitentiaries.

William Benitez, the Founder of Narconon
William Benitez, the Chairman of Narconon

During this period he was admitted for drug rehabilitation at three hospitals. He became a psychiatric aide in an attempt to understand his problem but his craving for drugs persisted. At times he felt like giving up. He couldn’t find a way to change his drug craving which led him back to prison.

During what turned out to be his last confinement he read a book, The Fundamentals of Thought by L. Ron Hubbard. He recognized the validity and workability of the principles presented in this book. Over the next fifteen months he studied many other books by this author including The Problems of Work and The Science of Survival. For the first time Willie saw a way out of his dilemma.

With help from John Russell, a construction foreman at Arizona State Prison and the Rev. Peter Greene, in Phoenix, he requested permission from cooperative prison officials to form a group to apply what he had learned. His request was approved and he formed a group of twenty members. They began studying and applying the practical procedures from the books, and achieved good results. Other inmates heard of the group and asked to join. It grew and another one was formed in a separate part of the prison. Today over 70 Narconon graduates have been released from prison. Most of them are leading productive lives–free from drugs. Word of Narconon’s success spread to other penal institutions. In 1970 some inmates at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville requested a Narconon program. Soon thereafter one was started by the Rev. Vaughn Young. This group has flourished. Another was started in San Jeronimo prison in Mexico City and is doing very well. Additional requests have come in from institutions in the U.S. and all over the world, and Narconon programs are going in.


Chairman of Narconon in Arizona State Prison
Don Mesaros, Chairman of Narconon in Arizona State Prison

Narconon is a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of California. It is financed through membership subscriptions and donations.

Narconon Headquarters are located at 833 Beacon Ave. in Los Angeles. There the U. S. Narconon staff supervise all Narconon programs throughout the world.

The Narconon programs are run by the inmates themselves with weekly supervision from outside. The best qualified inmate serves as chairman and is assisted by a person responsible for communications and organization, a person responsible for the quality of delivery of the program, a librarian, a historian, and supervisors for each course.

Outside the prison a chairman is appointed by the Director of Narconon to insure that books and course materials are made available and that the organization is set up properly in the prison. He is assisted by a trained person responsible for insuring that courses are set up properly and supervised and to provide needed materials.

Narconon Students doing the Practical Communication Exercises
Narconon Students doing the practical communication exercises which ‘pull them out’ of their drug experiences and reduce their urge to take drugs


The basic Narconon approach is that drug users and individuals who commit crimes have problems in life, which they try to solve with the use of drugs or by committing crimes. These problems can be broadly classified as something they want to achieve and are not achieving or something they want to avoid and are not successfully avoiding. Narconon employs procedures which enable the person to solve these problems without using drugs or committing crimes. Thus it is effective in rehabilitating drug users and preventing drug use. It restores the self confidence of the individual and increases his responsibility level.


Narconon Students Listening to Lecture
Narconon students listening attentively to a lecture on the Personal Efficiency Course where they learn how to be at cause and get things done

Narconon employs a series of studies, each followed by practical exercises to increase the awareness, communication and responsibility level of the individuals in the program. These are arranged in an exact curriculum. The first ones are designed to rehabilitate the individual’s ability to look at his life and his environment as it exists now instead of having his attention on past experiences. This tends to reduce his craving for drugs. It is followed by procedures which increase the person’s ability to communicate, his awareness and his ability to control himself and his environment. This alleviates some of the underlying causes of drug use. By increasing his understanding of what he is doing, it enables him to gradiently become less the effect in life and more and more at cause.


The Narconon curriculum is made up of a series of courses. Each course includes theory and practical exercises with a checksheet listing specific requirements. A space is provided by each item on the checksheet for the supervisor to initial as the student completes one.

Each Narconon Chapter has its own library of basic materials for study. These include books, taped lectures and bulletins which are issued to the student by the librarian.


The results of the Narconon program have been excellent. The majority of the graduates who have been released from prison are leading gainful lives free from drugs and/or crime. Several of them run their own businesses and assist other inmates in finding employment.

Narconon headquarters maintain contact with all Narconon graduates after they are released. Based on the information available from these contacts, the recidivism rate of Narconon graduates has been consistently less than 20 percent.


I don’t remember exactly when I started using drugs but it was 4 or 5 years ago. I’ve used peyote, psilocybin, speed, heroin, cocaine, LSD, belladonna, jimser weed (loco weed), pig, methadone, glue, gasoline, ether, marijuana, hashish, etc. I should say if it got you high, I’ve tried it! I’ve been busted for public nuisance and vagrancy - Tucson, disorderly conduct 3 times - Chicago, drunk and resisting arrest - San Francisco, all misdemeanors and one felony and possession for sale of Marijuana - Tucson. Drugs showed me the power I once had, I knew it then but it took me a long time to realize that it couldn’t be obtained through drugs. Through Narconon I’ve found the way out and back to my real self.



Since joining Narconon, I have learned to control myself better, and I have learned to be more in control of my environment. I have also been able to communicate better. This is helping me to put easier time than I thought was possible as I have a much better outlook on life.

J. S.


In two days I’’ll be released from this prison. I’ve been a member of NARCONON for the past 14 months and it has changed my entire life. Perhaps the biggest most tangible result of being in NARCONON is the fact that I no longer use nor have any desire to use drugs. If someone had told me 14 months ago that I would soon stop doing dope I would have thought they were crazy.

I also find myself much more willing to communicate (and especially originate communication) with anybody.

But what I get the most satisfaction from is the realization that I now have a purpose and a goal.

I found NARCONON just in time.



I can really say that I’m glad to have come back to prison this time because it has given me the opportunity to get in Narconon and to get my head in the right place.

As a being I know that I can do and have anything I want to.

I am three (3) times as aware as I used to be.



I have not even finished my Personal Efficiency Course but just associating with the members of NARCONON and being told that I am good has given me an enthusiastic outlook. Where in the past I felt that I would just continue the same cycles over and over until death brought release. Now I know that I am not an alien in a strange world but a welcome member of the human family.

L. P.


I started stealing, drinking and taking pills when I was 9 years old. I was busted for car theft and given probation at 14 years old. I was busted again when I was 15 for over 90 car thefts and over 120 burglaries. There was 6 of us in our “clique.” Of these 4 were turned loose, the other one and I were given a talk to and told not to run around together again. They sent me to my uncle’s ranch to make sure. When I was 16 I was busted again for burglary. They dropped charges so I could go into the Marine Corps. I joined on my 17th birthday. While in the service I received 3 Summary Court Martials, recommended for two General Court Marshalls and received 1 General. I lacked 4 days leaving Guam and went celebrating. The fleet was in, and after numerous fights they were taking us back to base and one of them was one of the Navy I had a fight with. I sent him and his buddy to the hospital. I was given 9 months and a Bad Conduct Discharge. Christmas 1959 I was busted for burglary and forgery. I received 3 and 1. I was released in 1962, met my wife in 64. She had a parole which was revoked in 66 and got out in 69. We came out here and I was sentenced to 4 to 5 years for kicking a 18” by 24” window out. Why, simply because she liked a necklace on display. From the time I was 14 in jail or out I have been high on pills and alcohol, valo, birds, codeine, jackets. I’ve taken everything except heroin. That is till Mar 19, 1971 when I joined Narconon. I’ve had chances to get high but I don’t want to get high. I feel better and more aware of being aware. Before Narconon I couldn’t or wouldn’t accept responsibility. Since Narconon I have accepted responsibility for four hats* and the Personal Efficiency Course at one time and was under no real strain, whereas before I couldn’’t accept responsibility for my wife or anything.

M. L.

* hat: slang for job and accompanying duties


I am no longer the man that I used to be.

   I am not yet the man that I want to be.

      But I have a knowingness that I will be.

         Thank You

Don Mesaros


Copyright © 1971 Narconon


A Non-Profit Organization

Dedicated To Reducing Crime and Drug Abuse



833 Beacon Avenue

Los Angeles, California 90017

Tel. (213) 487-1088


See more History from 1971