Scientology Can Exorcise Gremlins – Narconon ‘Drug Rehabilitation’ is Scientology in Disguise – Part 9

Narconon detox prog.pdfIn the last post in this series we started to examine the second book given to clients of Narconon, and saw that it is based on a Scientology practice (the “Purification Rundown” or “Purif”).

It is a picture-book version of L Ron Hubbard’s book, “Clear Body Clear Mind” (1990) which owes a lot to  ideas introduced in his self-published 1957 text “All About Radiation“.

So far, Hubbard has asserted that he has proved that drugs (including medicinal drugs) can be stored in fat cells, along with environmental pollutants and “radiation”. We have seen that this flies in the face of scientific knowledge and is not supported by published research. In the case of the claim about ‘radiation’ Hubbard does not even seen to understand the difference between a radioactive substance and radiation itself.

We take up the story at page 28.

Since most pages are dominated by one huge illustration and contain only a few lines of text, I have drawn the text together and quote it below.

Drugs eat up the body’s store of vitamins and minerals and can cause nutritional deficiencies. Even after coming off drugs, the person has mental pictures of drugs and drug experiences. As long as actual toxic substances are locked in the body they can “restimulate” (reactivate) these pictures.

pp28 – 30

This is L Ron Hubbard speaking, and what he says has no foundation in medical science. Let’s take it one point at a time.

“Drugs eat up the body’s store of vitamins and minerals and can cause nutritional deficiencies”

Drug addicts will often present with vitamin and nutritional deficiencies not because their drug use has ‘consumed’ the vitamins.pdfvitamins and minerals in their body, but simply because addicts are rarely concerned about eating properly. Anyone who eats a poor diet will suffer from vitamin deficiencies – this has nothing directly to do with drug use.

Vitamins are substances that we need to be present in our food, in small amounts, because our bodies cannot synthesise them. Simply eating a balanced diet will rapidly restore healthy vitamin levels. In rare cases, people might need a short course of vitamin supplements – however, you only need tiny quantities of vitamins daily. It’s pointless to take in too many. At best your body will usually just excrete what it doesn’t need. At worst, vitamin overdoses can be dangerous.

“Even after coming off drugs, the person has mental pictures of drugs and drug experiences. As long as actual toxic substances are locked in the body they can “restimulate” (reactivate) these pictures”

drug pictures.pdfThis kind of statement is typical of L Ron Hubbard. On the surface, it looks as if it might makes sense – but the moment you examine it any meaning evaporates as the contradictions emerge.

What does it mean to say that a person has “mental pictures of drugs and drug experiences”? We all have memories of things we have done, and drug users are no exception. They do not have physical consequences.

I suspect that this is a reference to a ‘principle’ of dianetics, which will be ‘taught’ later in the Narconon course – a Scientology concept that is smuggled in to Narconon courses, under the radar.

Narconon = Scientology

One of the basic principles of dianetics is that intense negative experiences can be stored in a person’s unconscious ‘reactive mind’ in the form of an ‘engram,’ which will emerge unpredictably whenever that memory is stimulated.

An example Hubbard gives and example of an engram in “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health”. He claims that person who was severely beaten by a someone who said “take that” every time he struck a blow became a kleptomaniac as a result. However, once the experience that caused the engram was brought into consciousness by dianetic therapy he stopped stealing.

According to dianetics, “Mental images” of drugs and drug use are enough, in and of themselves to produce the same effects as the actual drugs. Hubbard taught that more than 70% of physical diseases were caused in this way, up to and including cancer.

Hubbard could not directly advocate dianetics/Scientology as a cure for drug addiction. Consequently, he emphasised another Scientology practice (the “Purification Rundown” or “Purif”) because its claims about toxic chemicals being stored in fat cells can at least be made to appear to be relevant to the treatment of drug addiction.

In fact, the proposition that “mental pictures” can reactive drug residues to reproduce the original  experience has a number of serious problems.

  • Drug residues are cleared out of the body by natural processes surprising quickly.
  • Any residue that might persist for a short time consists of ‘used-up’ by-products which can no longer produce the original experience. If it could, drug users would surely form “mental pictures” of past drug experiences in order to get ‘high’ at no cost. Expecting used-up drugs to produce the same effect as fresh one is like putting exhaust fumes into the fuel tank of a car and hoping that they will make the engine run. Fuel residues won’t work after they have burned. Drug residues won’t work after they have been metabolised.
  • By what mechanism do “mental pictures” stimulate a chemical reaction? I once accidentally burned myself with paint stripper. Some of that substance might have been absorbed through my skin. However, blisters did not spontaneously appear on my hand when I formed a “mental image” of the accident while the injury was healing.

Scare Tactics

The text continues:hallucinate.pdf

Drugs and chemical deposits can make it difficult to think clearly. They can make the person appear dull or stupid. when these deposits are “triggered” they can cause one to hallucinate. (That means to see things which aren’t there).  These poisons that are trapped in the body can change one’s attitude toward life – and toward others. They can stop any spiritual improvement or forward progress. They can prevent a person getting mental or spiritual help.

Drugs and drug deposits can be costly. The cost can be in terms of money, bad health, hopelessness, broken relationships, failures and other grim effects. (pp – 38)

Once again, the false notion that drugs can be magically ‘stored’ in the body is used to claim that they can cause hallucinations (among other problems). This is irresponsible and self-serving because it will cause anxiety in people who have used drugs very rarely, a long time ago, and encourages them to pay for a potentially dangerous ‘treatment’ in order to address a problem that does not exist.

Simple Solutions to Complex Problems Do Not Work

‘Drug deposits’ are used by Hubbard as a scapegoat for all of the psychological and practical difficulties faced by a recovering addicts. These people need help in addressing the complex issues underlying their drug problems through counselling by qualified individuals.

Hubbard sweeps this aside, and now tells them that (for example) deep-seated psychiatric and relationship problems will simply go away if only they rid themselves of his imaginary ‘drug residues’. This kind of simplistic, one-size-fits-all cure-all is typical of quack medicine.

The New Life Detoxification Program can help to flush out and release these harmful deposits. Before the development of the technology used in the New Life Detoxification Program, nothing had been found that would move or dislodge drug residues from the tissues. For those who have had drugs of any kind there is NO OTHER RESCUE that it effective.

Now there is hope. This is a program that can change the face of society. DO THE NARCONON NEW LIFE DETOXIFICATION PROGRAM. IT COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

pp 39 – 42

Once again, these claims are irresponsible. It is true that no evidence-based drug rehabilitation facility offers a programme to “flush out and release harmful deposits” – but this is only because these deposits do not exist.

It’s like a mechanic claiming that  faults in cars  are caused by the actions of gremlins and, since his is the only garage in the world which knows this, NO OTHER REPAIRS can possibly be effective.

This is an aggressive sales pitch which functions to discredit competitors. It is not qualified medical advice concerned only with the best interests of the patient. In fact, many other drug rehabilitation treatments are effective – what’s more (unlike Narconon) their claims are supported by rational theories and rigorous scientific evidence.

L Ron Hubbard’s Simplistic Solution to Addiction

Hubbard now moves on to the ‘treatment’ he proposes to remove the ‘drug residues’ that he believes cause addiction. We will examine this is detail in the next post. However, it should be said that, since these ‘drug residues’ do not exist:

  • It is impossible to formulate a ‘treatment’ to remove them
  • Any such ‘treatment’ is, at best, worse than useless because it takes the place of evidence-based treatments which have a much better chance of doing the client good.

To return to the car mechanic in our previous example- it’s as it he proposes to repair your faulty brakes by exorcising the gremlins which he believes cause all braking problems. If you take his word for this, at the end of the day, you have will have paid a lot of money and still be driving about with faulty brakes. Your dangerous car might kill you if you don’t take it to a real mechanic before you crash it.

In the next post, we will see that Hubbard’s ‘detox’ procedure, which consists of  lengthy sauna sessions and overdoses of vitamins and minerals, constitutes a serious threat to the long-term health of those who take part. Not only does Narconon deprive people of evidence-based treatment, the ineffective treatment that it does offer is positively dangerous.


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