Scientology- Sponsored by the Federal Government
Make no mistake about it, Scientology is a huge, huge business. According to Ortega, they make hundreds of millions of dollars a year from charitable donations, selling their counseling services (called auditing), and charging for self-improvement classes. But what a lot of people don't know is they run the drug rehab center known as Narconon. If you are like me, you might have thought Narconon was an offshoot of Narcotics Anonymous. Maybe that was the point of the misleading nickname, but Narconon has nothing to do with addiction expertise. It is run completely by Scientology, but until very recently, the correlation was unknown to most people. Why is this important, you ask? Well, Scientology doesn't believe in two major parts of drug rehabilitation: Psychiatry and psychiatric medications. Many drug abusers have mental illness (or you could say many with mental illness have a drug problem- either way, the dual diagnosis is extremely common). Narconon shares L. Ron Hubbard's belief that drug metabolites are stored in the fatty tissues of the body, which results in abusers' treatment mainly being high levels of niacin and considerable time spent in a sauna. Ah, if only those two things could cure drug addiction; many people wouldn't be in the pit of despair they are currently in. The program goes around claiming an 80% success rate, which is beyond preposterous, even for rehab centers that doesn't use vitamins and hot temperatures. Relapse is a very real part of addiction, and lots of addicts don't have success the first time. Rehabilitation is more than 30 days in a building; it's a lifetime of learning lessons. Telling someone a stay in your center has an 80% chance of curing them of a disease that is incurable is highly irresponsible and extremely dangerous, and it has had devastating consequences for people who have believed it.
Unsuspecting loved ones sent their loved ones to Narconon groups around North America, believing their touted success rate and hoping that they would get their daughter, wife, husband, or other loved one back. Stacy Dawn Murphy was one of those loved ones, and she was found dead at a Narconon facility in Oklahoma this past August. Details are sketchy, but apparently she died of an overdose in a withdrawal unit. Now, the way Narconon treats withdrawal patients is very important here. I don't know what kind of drug Murphy abused, but most of them you can't just quit cold turkey. Some, the withdrawal can just cause extreme discomfort, but with other drugs (alcohol and benzodiazepines for example) you can actually die while detoxing. Withdrawal also causes severe depression, which undoubtedly would've been left untreated. Murphy was left alone, and with nowhere to turn, she overdosed. She should have been treated with medicine and supervised 24/7. I guess she must have been one of the 20%, huh? Apparently, two other people were part of the 20% as well, because so far in the last year there have been three deaths at Narconon facilities. Robert Murphy, Stacy's grieving father, was unaware of the center's relationship with Scientology, and he was also unaware that there were sometimes no trained staff at the center at all- just members of Scientology's Sea Org, a group of people that sign billion year contracts with Scientology (look that up if you want more information- it is wild). So when Stacy stopped breathing, there probably wasn't even anyone there to help her, which as a parent I can only imagine is one of the most heartbreaking feelings that Robert Murphy has to deal with every day now.
Our country was based on the first amendment, and I believe in it wholeheartedly. But as American citizens, we deserve to be protected from the kind of organization that spies, lies, cheats, and ultimately kills. The biggest travesty about all of this is that Scientology still operates tax-free in the United States, as religious entities are considered tax exempt. Now, I'm not saying Scientology shouldn't be allowed to be a business, maybe a kind of life coaching system- but is no religion. It hurts people (Lisa McPherson), it tears apart families (Karen De La Carriere), it robs you blind (Hector M. Guevara)...wait, on second thought, I guess it does sound just like a religion.