Narconon CEO Speaks Publicly About Controversial Facility, Programs

Monday, August 27th 2012, 6:07 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

The head of Narconon Arrowhead is speaking publicly -- answering questions about the facility and its programs. Narconon Arrowhead is facing heavy criticism, for its methods, an alleged lack of medical supervision, and its ties to the Church of Scientology.

Just a half hour before protestors marched on Narconon's Lake Eufaula facility Saturday, Narconon Arrowhead CEO Gary Smith addressed the growing concerns against the program including its ties to the church of Scientology.

8/25/2012 Related Story: Narconon CEO Talks About Allegations As Protesters Gather

"Part of what's happened here is there's been this confusion that we're something that we're not," said Smith. "We do welcome the support of the Church of Scientology, we always have, but we welcome all religions."

To back him up the: Reverend James McLaughlin, a protestant pastor of traditional Christian faith and Narconon's Chaplin also spoke.

"We give our support to what's happening here," said the Reverend. When asked if he and his wife are scientologists, the Reverend answered "No."

Former patients however talk about experiences at the center based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard that include talking to ash trays instead of formal counseling.

"What the Narconon program does, it gives them life skills, it shows them how to solve problems better, how to improve your moral values, how to better communicate with people," said Smith.

Smith says the facility employs 44 credentialed counselors, although Narconon also employees former patients.

Smith also disputes claims there isn't adequate medical supervision. He told us, there are nurses around the clock. And they have one doctor on staff.

Read response of Narconon CEO Gary W. Smith.

"He's not at the facility all the time, but again part of the problem here is there are state requirements that a lot of individuals don't know about," said Smith.

Narconon is licensed by the state as a non-medical treatment facility. So their requirements are not as strict as a medical facility. One Oklahoma Lawmaker, however, wants to tighten up those regulations.

8/23/12 Related Story: Family Of Deceased Patient File Lawsuit Against Narconon