Drug Education Project

Drug Education Project

Drug Education Project

(John Duff, Narconon graduate, now Director of Drug Education, for Narconon)

“I started using marijuana and alcohol the summer before my freshman year in high school. Soon I was selling pot (marijuana) and uppers and downers (amphetamines and barbituates) to my schoolmates, and was arrested several times during that school year for drug use. During my sophomore year—after being arrested for being under the influence of barbituates—my parents sent me to a military academy in Florida in hopes I would, ‘shape up.’”

“Six months later I was expelled from that institution—again for drug use—at a loss of several thousand dollars to my parents in unrefunded money. By the age of 17 I had a long record of drug related arrests, at which time my Probation Officer gave me the choice of 4 years incarceration in the California Youth Authority or 4 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. I chose the Corps.”

“Unfortunately the Marine Corps had no better luck at rehabilitating me than did anything else that had been tried up to then. After 3 more arrests for drug use I received a court martial, spent 4 months in the Brig, and was finally discharged as “undesirable.”

“During this period of 7 years I had used alcohol, pot, uppers, downers, LSD, Peyote, cocaine, and heroin quite heavily, plus experimented with such things as lighter fluid. Finally in late 1971 I began working to rehabilitate myself through the Narconon program here in L.A., and through this program I finally got out of the drug scene once and for all.”


The Narconon program was originally founded by another addict with a 17 year drug and crime history of his own, an inmate at Arizona State Prison named William “ Willie” Benitez. He utilized some of the discoveries on the nature of the mind and human relationships found in a book written by philosopher and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard, to formulate, a program for self improvement which he ran for fellow inmates in the institution As Hubbard researched and published more works specific to the effects of drugs on the mind and methods of rehabilitation, the Narconon Program was granted permission to use these discoveries by the author, and rapidly expanded into an international program with over 35 separate facilities.

When Narconon decided to move into the area of Drug Education and Prevention this past summer, Duff, at his own request, was put in charge of the first pilot project.

The purpose of the pilot was to find out what could help prevent students from getting involved with drugs and also help those already involved to stop, by getting them to really want to stop. Toward this end, Mr. Duff began researching what other methods had been employed by others to educate against drug use, as well as what the Narconon program had found through their 13 years of factors which commonly lead youngsters into drug use and abuse.

It was soon discovered that drug education methods employing information that is “sensationalized” (built-up, unreal, not easily observable or containing outright lies and “scare tactics”) could actually have a negative result, stimulating rather than preventing drug experimentation. Thus, the Narconon program gives only the simple facts on the general effects of all drugs—both legal and illegal—and including such things as coffee, tobacco, alcohol and medicinal drugs as well as LSD, PCP, Marijuana, Heroin, Cocaine and others. Easily observable mental and physical reactions to drugs are explained and questions answered in detail as they come up.

It was also observed that the manner in which the information is presented can have a great deal to do with its success or failure. Being able to relate to the students as an ex-addict who had “been there” and was there to help, not condemn, was decidedly helpful in being accepted by the group.

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