Sunday, February 15, 2009

Narconon anti-drug program banned from schools

To all Principles, Parents and Students,

Back in 2005, State Superintendent Jack O'Connell urged all California schools to drop the Narconon anti-drug education program after a new state evaluation concluded that its curriculum offers inaccurate and unscientific information. [1]

The California Medical Association has declared unanimous support for school districts that have dropped Narconon from their classrooms, and will urge the American Medical Association to do the same. [2] Based on the California evaluation report, the Hawaii State Department of Education officials are not allowing Narconon presentations at public schools. [3]

The full report is available at the California Department of Education website [4]. Related news articles are chronicled at Dr. David Touretzky's website at Carnegie Mellon University[5].

O'Connell requested the independent evaluation in July after The Chronicle reported in June that Narconon introduced students to some beliefs and methods of Scientology without their knowledge.

The stories reported that Narconon's instruction rests, in part, on church beliefs that drug residues remain indefinitely in body fat, causing people to experience repeated drug flashbacks and cravings. Some teachers also reported that Narconon instructors taught their students that drug residues can be sweated out in saunas and that colored ooze is produced when drugs exit the body.

Scientology correspondence obtained by The Chronicle said Narconon's instruction is delivered in language purged of most church parlance, but includes "all the Scientology and Dianetics Handbook basics."

Information provided to students by Narconon "does not reflect accurate, widely accepted medical and scientific evidence," the researchers said. "Some information is misleading because it is overstated or does not distinguish between drug use and abuse."

The report offered these examples of Narconon's inaccuracies:

  • Drugs burn up vitamins and nutrients.
  • Drug-activated vitamin deficiency results in pain.
  • Marijuana-induced, rapid vitamin and nutrient loss causes food cravings known as "munchies."
  • Small amounts of drugs stored in fat are released at a later time (and) cause the person to re-experience the drug effect and desire to use again.

Examples of "misleading statements" include the ideas that the amount of a drug taken determines whether it acts as a stimulant or sedative, and that drugs "ruin creativity and dull senses."

The report also criticized Narconon for using ex-addicts to make its presentations.

"Authorizing ex-addicts to teach drug prevention in schools may tacitly reinforce student perceptions that drug use really isn't risky," the researchers said.

On Feb 12, 2009, a local newspaper announced that Narconon is to hold a talk at the school library of a California School. [6] Angry parents immediately flooded the school with emails and phone calls. The principle announced the next day that the event was canceled. Her contact information can be found on the school website[7].

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