California school superintendent Jack O’Connell has urged all schools to drop the Narconon antidrug education program after an evaluation concluded that its curriculum offers inaccurate and unscientific information, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The free program has ties to the Church of Scientology. O’Connell requested the evaluation in July after the Chronicle reported that Narconon introduced students to some beliefs and methods of Scientology without their knowledge. Narconon’s instruction rests, in part, on church beliefs that drug residues remain indefinitely in body fat, causing people to experience repeated drug flashbacks and cravings. Narconon instructors made presentations in at least 39 school districts since 2000, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento.
In a report by the California Healthy Kids Resource Center, five medical doctors and nine school health education specialists evaluated Narconon for scientific accuracy and how well its teaching methods might help students avoid taking drugs. Information provided to students by Narconon “does not reflect accurate, widely accepted medical and scientific evidence,” the researchers said. “Some information is misleading because it is overstated or does not distinguish between drug use and abuse.” Among other things, the program asserted that “Marijuana-induced, rapid vitamin and nutrient loss causes food cravings known as ‘munchies.’ ”