Narconon New Life San Diego Opens

Narconon New Life San Diego Opens

The San Diego Union

San Diego, California, Sunday Morning, April 8, 1973

Drug Center Holds Open House

A live-in drug counseling center for young parolees opened yesterday in an old, two-story Victorian home on 21st Street.

Directors of Narconon New Life, 641 21st St., held an open house to introduce their rehabilitation program to the public.

It is one of 25 centers established in the country by Narconon, an international organization based in Los Angeles, said David F. Wiegand, director of the local center.

Wiegand, 25, a native San Diegan, said he decided to open the center after Narconon in Los Angeles helped him to quit drugs. He said he was addicted for two years while in the Navy.

When operating at full strength, the center will provide counseling for 10 live-in parolees and evening courses for up to 25 drug users from the community, Wiegand said.

Wiegand said the parolees will come from the California Youth Authority.

Wiegand said Narconon is a non-profit organization and is funded by private donations and government grants. He said the local governments have not provided any of the funds for the house.

The house itself cost $44,000, which he said was purchased with donations.

National supervisor Artie Maren, in San Diego for the open house, said Narconon was founded in 1966 in Arizona State Prison by an inmate, William Benitez, who had a long history of drug use.

Benitez’ success led to the founding of similar programs in other prisons and finally in other cities and nations, said Maren, 30, who is also a former drug user.

Maren said the counseling involves teaching communications and interpersonal relations so that the drug user’s confidence is restored.

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