If you’ve been following my blogs about Narconon, you’re probably wondering why I devoted my time to writing them, when it’s painful and past history.
My purpose is not about blaming the place or anyone for Cody’s death. Narconon didn’t cause Cody’s death; the disease of addiction ultimately did, but it didn’t help him either. The reason I felt compelled to tell the whole story is because of the deceptive practices still going on there now. Preying upon desperate parents and family members, as well as perpetuating the unsafe environment, where there is no medical supervision, wasn’t right then, and isn’t right today.
I believe the true purpose of Narconon’s rehab racket is not to help addicts, but to recruit members and fill the Scientology coffers.
Cody’s father and I weren’t normally gullible, dupable people; we ran a multi-million dollar business together for 15 years before we divorced. Cody’s father still runs the successful company today. But, we were frantic to help our son because nothing seemed to work. Nobody had the answers to help him, and we were searching for any treatment that might make a difference.
At the time, we didn’t fully understand the disease concept of addiction, and were caught up in the stigma of shame and silence.
To detoxify from drugs, Narconon puts their sick clients in a 150-degree sauna for 4-5 hours per day, while giving them mega doses of vitamins, including Niacin. This practice goes on for up to a month until the toxins are sweated out and the mega doses of vitamins have been taken in. The danger with addicts taking massive amounts of vitamins like Niacin is that most of them have liver problems from substance abuse.
People have died from this bizarre process and become violently ill with regular vomiting and diarrhea. Yet it continues to be one of their main selling points to draw people in. I remember being told it would clear Cody’s body of all alcohol, drugs, and other toxins that could trigger his cravings and flashbacks. The scientific truth is no matter how much a person sweats in a sauna, the clearance of toxins is minimal at best. Another fraudulent claim.
Cody relapsed after his first stint at Narconon on alcohol within a couple of months. It got so bad we knew we were going to have to send him back. The program touted the offer of a period of 6 months after treatment where if there was a relapse, the client could come back for free. So, we sent him back to Narconon Fort Collins, thinking it was free. It wasn’t free because Cody had interned after his first stint, unbeknownst to us or him there was a clause in the contract he signed stating the 6 month period did not apply to interns. We had to pay half of the normal fee of $30,000 for his second stint, after he was already back in the program. More deception.
He became an employee after he completed the program the second time around. He made minimum wage and would routinely get his pay taken away for little things, like giving a candy bar to one of the clients. He was constantly harassed by the supervisors, watched by ethics officers, and security guards, and required to work long hours. The so-called “certified counselors” were actually former clients working as employees for minimum wage, like Cody was doing. Cody was certainly not a certified drug counselor, but was required to “counsel” others. Another troubling aspect of the program.
Cody finally quit when he was forbidden to see a girl he had met there, who left the place under strained circumstances. He met her for lunch, and was confronted when he returned to work. He defended her and got into a heated argument with the guy who was running the place, and immediately got fired or quit, not sure which one. He relapsed again not too long after he left the second time.
Ten of the addicts Cody met at Narconon have died, either from overdose or suicide. Ten. That is a troubling number.
There are only a handful of them who are still sober, and most of them are in 12-step programs. The 70-80% success rate is a blatantly false claim, still plastered on their website, and is yet another tactic to prey upon family members, who are desperate to get help for their loved ones. I regret Cody didn’t spend those two years he was in and out of Narconon in a quality program, which offered him real medical treatment and opportunity for recovery.
We have listed some well-known good quality treatment programs in Colorado and elsewhere on our website at http://www.codysfreshstart.org/links/.
In a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court on March 13, 2016, the justices ruled in favor of revoking the Church of Scientology’s tax-exempt status.
The Internal Revenue Service found the group to be a criminal operation with a sole purpose of making money.
The justices agreed with the IRS and its findings that Scientology was not a religion and didn’t fall under the guidelines of a non-profit charitable organization. This tax-exempt status saved the “church” an estimated $20 million a year on property taxes alone.
Perhaps Scientology’s ability to raise money and convert addicts will be weakened by this decision and lead to the demise of the organization or at least its phony drug rehabilitation program. I can only hope.
Mary Cucarola – April 14, 2016