OKLAHOMA CITY - A regimen of vitamins, exercise and saunas

really will cure drug addiction, and cure radiation poisoning,

too, the president of the Church of Scientology International

said Thursday.

The Rev. Heber Jentzsch, the head of the church based

on the meditations of a science-fiction writer and accused

by some of being a cult, also alleged that a conspiracy

of psychiatrists and drug dealers was responsible for the

troubles that nearly scuttled a Newkirk drug treatment center

employing his beliefs.

After months of legal and bureaucratic battling, the

state mental health board in August exempted the Narconon

New Life drug treatment center from state certification.

The state Health Department has yet to license the center,

but Deputy Health Commissioner Brent VanMeter said he expected

that final action will be accomplished soon, allowing the

controversial center to operate freely.

Jentzsch, in the state to meet with regional Scientology

leaders, said he was using his visit to try to recast public

perceptions of the battle and his church's beliefs.

"No one got down to why does this program work, and

it does work," he said.

Scientology holds several controversial beliefs that

fly in the face of generally accepted psychological doctrine, including:

Drug use is addictive because of residual traces of drugs

stored in body fat. Once these residuals are sweated out

by exercise and the intense heat of saunas, the addiction is broken.

Drugs are not appropriate in the treatment of mental illness

or addiction. This pits Scientology against the anti-depressant

Prozac and methadone, an opiate used to ease addicts off heroin.

Drug addicts can be cured. Once cured, they can go back

to using drugs - although they aren't likely to be interested

- without falling back into addiction.

In originally rejecting Narconon's certification bid,

mental health board members described the Scientology-based

treatment at Narconon as dangerous.

Later, cornered by a state law, the board exempted the

center from its oversight, although its members never said

they believed Narconon's methods were safe or effective.

Jentzsch said they were and alleged that the resistance

to the center came from two sources: illegal drug manufacturers

interested in continuing their trade in northern Oklahoma,

and psychologists interested in continuing their plunder

of insurance companies and state funding for ineffective

drug treatment centers.

"It's an atrocity that psychiatry gets $57 billion

a year in this country," he said. "Hasn't anyone noticed

that while the spending on psychiatry has gone up, the problem

has increased? It's rigged."

As proof of the power of Narconon's methods, Jentzsch

described his own experience with Scientological purification.

During his purification through saunas and exercise,

Jentzsch not only tasted mixed drinks he had consumed years

before, but physically relived his experience as a 15-year-old,

when he was the victim of nuclear poisoning because of atomic

testing near his Utah home, he said.

"I felt that same agony that I did then, like I was

dying," Jentzsch said.

His face blistered from the residual nuclear chemicals

being leeched from his body, but after the purification

was over he was completely rejuvenated, he said.

"All of a sudden, I felt a resurgence," he said. "I

felt like I was alive again."

That rejuvenation is the sort of experience Narconon

will offer at the Newkirk center, he said.