|Style over substance|
Narconon is a drug rehabilitation program run by the Church of Scientology. Pulled out of the Church's ass in 1966, it has since become well known for claiming a success rate of approximately 70% (and therefore being the world's most successful rehabilitation programme). Narconon could very well be said to be the "friendly face" of Scientology, as its stale statistics always sound a lot more positive than anything to do with E-Meters or Xenu. And if you happen to be a minor celebrity Scientologist, the fastest way to dodge serious issues about the "religion" is to say something along the lines of "we have the world's number one drug rehabilitation program". See - they're about so much more than the clams and the aliens!
 Seventy percent?
The claim of a 70% success rate seems strangely familiar. That's because it's one of many false statistics constantly put out by the Church.
The 70% figure itself refers to participants in the program who remain free of drugs for a year after completing it, and it comes from a Swedish study that was made in May 1981. The figure ranges from around 70% to a generous 90%. Very little of the actual data in this report is made available for study on Narconon websites, and the organization simply ignores all requests in this area. Put simply, Narconon don't seem very enthusiastic about letting other people read the study allegedly proving how successful their program is.
In fact, when the report of the study was traced — by one Catarina Pamnell — several problems were exposed. Firstly, the study found that only 23% of the participants actually completed the program; a far cry from what Narconon would like you to believe. Additionally, the study found that after a year had passed:
- 50% of those who completed the course had since relapsed.
- 14% of those who completed said that they did not know if they had relapsed or not.
- 34% of those who enrolled said they "completed the program and relapsed but claimed to be drug free at the moment".
- 6.6% of those who enrolled said they had remained free of drugs for one year after.
That's a success rate of 6.6%. Is anyone surprised?
And, as if that were not enough, the interviews in the study were made by the Narconon staff themselves -- hardly impartial to the issue at hand. Much of the "one year on" material also depends upon the participants reporting their status with complete honesty, which may mean that the results (6.6%, remember!) are positively slanted.
 Basic methodology
At its core, the Narconon program is pretty simple. The idea is to break off an addiction to harmful drugs without the use of other drugs (methadone might be a good example here). Of course, since this is the world of L. Ron Hubbard, Narconon contains a certain amount of residual prejudice towards psychiatry and most forms of conventional (read, chemical) medicine. The idea that chemicals are profoundly negative in of themselves seems to be a running theme in Scientology, misguided and nonsensical though it is.
The programme itself involves an immediate withdrawal from all drugs, followed by a grueling regimen of vitamin overdoses and exercise There's also a stage of the ubiquitous and inescapable "improving communication". In fact, many of the later stages of the Narconon program seem to be variations on lower Scientology courses (retaining knowledge, overcoming barriers, and of course, improving communication).
There's also a vaguely unsettling course in the last third in which "[the supplicant] learns the characteristics of the social personality as well as those of the anti-social personality so that he can spot the difference and better choose his friends and associates." This description comes very close to the Scientology definition of a "Suppressive Person" -- anyone hostile or critical of Scientology's teachings. People who must, naturally, be cut out of your life. Another continuing theme.
The overall cost is $15,000 -- not including any further Scientology courses that may be sold to you. Make no mistake, this is the thin end of the wedge for Scientology.
 See also
- ↑ Claimed here, towards the bottom of the page.
- ↑ As seen here. Beck, you are such a tool.
- ↑ Lots of interesting information, and the study results themselves here.
- ↑ Read all about it
- ↑ Basic outline here, which is just Scientology's "purification rundown" under another name. Vitamins must be friendly chemicals.
- ↑ And also here.
- ↑ What do Scientologists do with all these extra communication skills?
- ↑ Collected course costs and questioning commentary can be seen here.