Narconon CEO Talks About Allegations As Protesters Gather
McALESTER, Oklahoma - The head of Narconon Arrowhead spoke for the first time about the allegations against the rehab center; this as dozens protested the facility Saturday afternoon.
"If it's not happening in other mental facilities, why is it happening here?" asked Robert Murphy whose daughter Stacy died at Narconon Arrowhead in July.
"From what I've been led to believe she was put into a room and left unsupervised until they found her dead the following day," said Murphy. "They knew she was in a OD situation and they did nothing about it."
Murphy was among the 40-plus people who protested Narconon's Lake Eufala facility. Among the crowd, former patients, anti-Narconon crusaders and other family members who also lost loved ones at Narconon, like Shirley Graves whose son Gabriel also died while under Narconon's care in October.
"I'm hoping to make people aware of the fact there are needs for rehab and people need to choose carefully," she said. "I wish I would have passed this one by. My son would still be alive and with me."
"What I want to say from the heart, is my wife and I know what it's like to lose a child. And knowing that, I also know how desperate those families are for answers," said Narconon Arrowhead CEO Gary Smith.
News 9 was the only Oklahoma City media outlet that Smith agreed to talk to. Smith has not talked publicly about the controversy surrounding Narconon until now. He discussed with us, allegations surrounding the recent deaths, including a lack of medical staff.
Smith says they have one doctor who visits the facility five times a week. He also said they have seven nurses on staff.
"It's a 24-hour 7-day a week nursing staff, which once again exceeds state standards," Smith said.
Because of privacy laws, Smith says he can't comment on any past or current patients. However he says they are cooperating fully into all investigations.
"We have been in this a long time and we have the greatest faith in the regulatory and administrative systems of this state," Smith told News 9 when we asked if he was worried about the facility being shut down.
Family members protesting Saturday, however, say shutting the facility down, at least temporarily while officials investigate, is exactly what they want.