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
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.