Los Angeles school officials are warning against use of a drug prevention program linked to the Church of Scientology while California’s schools chief is investigating whether the anti-drug presentations are scientifically sound and free from the religion’s influence, the Los Angeles Times reports. At issue is Narconon, a drug prevention and rehabilitation program based partly on the research and controversial teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Narconon has conducted “Truth About Drugs” assemblies and classes, usually one session of about an hour each, in schools in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities. In the “Truth About Drugs” lectures, Narconon “presenters” tell students about the negative mental, emotional and physical effects of drugs (including theories on how they are stored and metabolized in body tissue and how drugs deplete vitamins and nutrients). L.A. school official Maria Reza said the presentations are “not based on science.” Clark Carr, president of Hollywood-based Narconon International, said the presentations were based on sound principles and that the program had no motive beyond wanting to keep youngsters off of drugs. He insisted the classes did not include any proselytizing for Scientology. He said, “We don’t use scare tactics. We come in with the straight facts. We’re helping kids get off drugs. We’ve been doing it for a long time. We’re going to continue doing it.”