CHILOCCO - A decision to certify a controversial drug and
alcohol treatment center - operated by Narconon on Indian
land here - has been postponed indefinitely, state Mental
Health Department spokeswoman Rosemary Brown said Tuesday.
"We've never encountered a program that had this much public
interest," remarked Brown, noting that more than 30 people
testified at an emotional public hearing in Ponca City a
The delay will give the state Board of Mental Health and
Substance Abuse Services more time to review the transcript
from the four-hour hearing as well as "other documents
related to the program's operation," Brown said.
The board had been scheduled to consider Narconon's certification
Thursday. A new date has not yet been set, she said.
A critical issue will be whether Narconon's approach to
treatment, which emphasizes saunas and vitamins, "falls
within generally accepted treatment practices," Brown said.
Among the deficiencies cited by the Mental Health Department
in a September audit was a lack of documentation that Narconon
staff members take a patient's vital signs at least every
six hours during detoxification, as required by the state.
"The documentation of staff training did not include knowledge
of the physical signs of withdrawal," the report noted.
Narconon has filed "a plan of correction," Brown said.
Much of the opposition at the public hearing emphasized
Narconon's ties to the Church of Scientology, labeled a
"mind-control cult" by Newkirk Herald-Journal editor Bob
Narconon's method of treatment was formulated by the late
L. Ron Hubbard, who founded the Church of Scientology and
wrote science fiction.
"The Church of Scientology is a supporter of Narconon -
we welcome this support as of any group," Narconon President
Gary Smith said, predicting that Narconon's center at the
remodeled and previously abandoned Chilocco Indian School
site "will soon be one of the largest programs in the world."
The 75-bed facility, located on leased Indian land, has
been operating without certification or licensing since