Why I oppose Narconon at Trout Run

Social Betterment Properties International (SBPI), the real estate arm of the Church of Scientology (COS), purchased part of the property long known as Trout Run in 2013 to be used by Narconon to operate a drug rehabilitation program, but this Resource Conservation zone does not allow a drug rehabilitation facility. This zone does allow large group homes as a special exception, however, if the property is first listed on the Frederick County Register of Historic Places.


The County Council denied this designation for the Trout Run property on June 2, 2015. Since then, SBPI has alleged that their decision was based at least in part on religious discrimination against the Church of Scientology.

I’m not going to try to address the legal issues of this case at this time, but it is my opinion that the CC was entirely justified in their decision. For more information on the background of this matter and why the County Council was justified in denying the historic designation, I suggest reading the column at Envision Frederick County, entitled “Should Trout Run Be Added To The Frederick County Register Of Historic Places,” written by Kai Hagen. You can also see court documents and other related documents here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NoNarcononTroutRun/files/.

I am going to approach this matter in a broader way.

There’s no question that people in our area and many other areas have drug addiction problems. The heroin/opioid epidemic has taken a terrible toll. I personally know individuals and families who have been affected by this problem and I’ve known people who have lost their lives to it. Certainly, we need to find some better solutions to this insidious problem.

There are a number of reasons, however, why a Narconon facility should not be part of the solution. And it has nothing to do with the theology of Scientology or religious discrimination.

Just a casual internet search shows that since its inception in 1970, Narconon has been embroiled in controversy and beset with problems. A variety of sources indicate that they use treatment practices that are not recognized by mainstream medical or drug rehabilitation professionals. They use untrained, improperly trained and uncertified staff. Other sources show that they’ve been guilty of fraud and their practices have been harmful. In some cases they caused death.

Following are a few quotes from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narconon.

““Since its establishment, Narconon has faced considerable controversy over the safety and effectiveness of its rehabilitation methods …The medical profession has been sharply critical of Narconon’s methods, which rely on theories of drug metabolism that are not supported by mainstream toxicology.””


“In April 2014, the town council of Wyong refused permission for Narconon to open a new centre at Yarramalong, New South Wales, saying that Narconon’s method of treatment was a factor in the decision.”

False Certifications: “According to the lawsuit, “more than 400 Narconon-associated websites contained the purported certifications of staff members that, in reality, have had certifications that have been suspended, revoked or never existed.”

State code violations: “Narconon facilities in California were cited repeatedly for violations by state inspectors.” “In Clearwater, FL, an endorsement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, which Narconon submitted in support of its application for a state license to conduct anti-drug educational programs, was found to be a forgery.”

Deaths: “In 1995, two young men…died of acute kidney failure (symptoms consistent with a niacin overdose)…Both patients suffered similar symptoms, vomiting and diarrhea, for days before their deaths. The young men died within a few days of one another, in the so-called ‘detoxification’ (ultra-high doses of niacin and other vitamins, multi-hour saunas) stage of the Narconon program. The Narconon centre had no medical staff and was unable – in either case – to diagnose the seriousness of their condition.”

“In August 2012, Pittsburg County sheriffs and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health, along with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation began an investigation of deaths at Narconon’s Arrowhead facility, following the deaths of three patients in a period of nine months.”

Insurance Fraud: “State investigators discovered nearly $3 million of insurance fraud at Narconon Georgia…the facility surrendered its state license in order to avoid criminal charges.”

Quebec Narconon Closed: “On 17 April 2012, Quebec health officials ordered the Narconon in Trois-Rivières to close…because of their concerns that its methods “may represent a risk to health” of patients.”

For more in depth information regarding Narconon in Quebec, I suggest reading “Dante’s Eighth Circle – Why Scientology’s Narconon Must Be Stopped” by David Love.

David, who was first a client and then a staff person at Narconon, titled his book after the 8th circle of hell in Dante’s Inferno, the circle of Fraud, and in it he describes the fraudulent and harmful practices of Narconon as he experienced and witnessed them.

David was instrumental in the closure of Narconon at Trois-Revieres.

For a comprehensive overview of Narconon, I suggest going to http://narcononreviews.net/ . This site has a wealth of information about Narconon, their treatment methodology, studies regarding their treatments, complaints and past problems, lawsuits, etc.

By Narconon’s own admission (see their website at http://www.narconon.org/), their treatment is based on the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology. Detox methods include sitting in a sauna for hours on end after taking high doses of Niacin and/or vitamins. Independent medical studies have not found this to be a viable detox method and some have found it to be potentially harmful. Other treatment methods include staring into the eyes of a partner for hours on end while attempting not to move or respond: yelling at your partner for hours on end, sometimes with hurtful or sexually explicit language, to see if they react: yelling at an ashtray in an attempt to exert control over it: while reading books, looking up all words in a dictionary, including words such as “the” and “at.”

For a full description of the treatment methods see http://narcononreviews.net/resources/for-potential-clients/narconon-information/the-narconon-program/ .

On this page, Eric Tenorio, former Scientologist and former Executive Director of Narconon Freedom Center, 13 years on staff for Narconon states; “The founder of Scientology (L. Ron Hubbard, LRH) was vehemently opposed to anything having to do with psychology or psychiatry. The Church even went so far as to create an organization called the CCHR (Citizens Commission on Human Rights) whose sole purpose is to expose the “horrors” of those professions. LRH saw all psychiatrists as his mortal enemies and the people responsible for most if not all of the atrocities in society today.”

“This is why you will not see any psychologists or psychiatrists on staff at any of the Narconons. In states that require these professionals to work in a drug rehab, you will not find a Narconon.”

Another link on this same page is entitled. “How Narconon Drug Education is a Form of Scientology Indoctrination” by  Lucas Catton, former President of Narconon Arrowhead.

Some may question why it would be a problem if Narconon espouses the teachings of Scientology. After all, there are recognized faith based treatment programs. For me, this has nothing to do with the philosophy or tenants of their religion or religious discrimination. In my own quest for spiritual meaning, I have explored and have been a part of a variety of religions and/or spiritual disciplines. Some of those may be considered by many people to be somewhat out of the mainstream. It makes no difference to me if portions of the theology of Scientology are fantastical. If you look rationally at religions, most have components in their theology that are fantastical and beyond logic.

What is important for me is the Hippocratic Oath, “First, Do No Harm”. Although this is an abbreviated version of the oath that doctors have historically taken, I think that because of the power that religions play in people’s lives, it should also apply to religions. Of course, it can be argued that most, if not all religions, have caused harm at some point in their history, but that’s a discussion for another time.

It’s my contention, however, that because of the personality of L. Ron Hubbard (LRH), the creator and founder of Scientology, there is a particularly harmful component built into the culture of Scientology.

There is a myriad of information available about LRH. One particular source I recommend is the book “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief” by Pulitzer Prize-Winning author Lawrence Wright. To write this book, Wright performed extensive research and spoke with numerous former Scientologists. It conveys an illuminating and troubling picture of Scientology and LRH.

The following 3 paragraphs are accounts taken from the book and offer a brief glimpse into the personality of L.Ron Hubbard:

At one point, due to considerable problems with the IRS and other authorities, L. Ron Hubbard took to the sea in ships and formed an elite group called the Sea Org. This group was extremely loyal to LRH and overtime he began to exert considerable control over all aspects of their lives, including parenting.

On one occasion while at sea, “a rambunctious four-year old boy had taken a Rolex watch belonging to a wealthy member of the Sea Org and dropped it overboard.

Hubbard ordered him confined in the chain locker, a closed container where the massive anchor is stored. It was hard, damp, and cold. There was a danger that the child could be mutilated if the anchor accidentally lowered or slipped. Although he was fed, he was not given blankets or allowed to go to the bathroom. He stayed sitting on the chain for two days and nights. The crew could hear the boy crying. His mother pleaded to let him out …. Other young children were sentenced to the locker for infractions–… One little girl, a deaf mute, was placed in the locker for a week because Hubbard thought it might cure her deafness.”

L. Ron Hubbard’s second wife, Sara, claimed that she was subjected to “systemic torture” by LRH, including sleep deprivation, beatings, strangulations, and “scientific torture experiments”. When these accusations became public, LRH’s first wife Polly, also confirmed that she too was subjected to beatings, threats on her life and other sadistic treatment. Sara claimed that while she was pregnant, L. Ron Hubbard repeatedly kicked her in the stomach in an attempt to cause a miscarriage. L. Ron Hubbard, Jr, the son of LRH, claims he remembers his father standing over his mother Polly with a coat hanger when she was pregnant, in order to cause an abortion.

More can be read in “Going Clear” or you can watch the HBO documentary. I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but in my opinion, L. Ron Hubbard showed all of the traits of a narcissistic, sadistic, sociopath. But he may also have been a genius. From his beginnings as a science fiction writer, he created a religion that has survived his death and by many accounts has liquid assets of approximately $1 billion.

Some may argue that this is all old history, that LRH is dead and the church is different now. It seems, however, that David Miscavige, who became the leader of Scientology after LRH died, also has narcissistic and sadistic tendencies. In “Going Clear”, it describes how Miscavige would sometimes place people in a place called the “hole”, essentially a prison. These were usually people at high levels of the organization, executives, and would sometimes stay there for months or years. In the hole they were deprived of normal conveniences, including beds to sleep on, and were sometimes abused.

From the book:

“However, twelve former Sea Org members told me that Miscavige had assaulted them; twenty-one have told me or testified in court that they have witnessed one or more assaults on other church staff members by their leader. Marc Headley, one of those who say Miscavige beat them on several occasions, said he knows thirty others who were attacked by the church leader. Rinder says he witnessed fourteen other executives who were assaulted, some on multiple occasions, such as the elderly church president, Heber Jentzsch, who has been in the hole since 2006. Some people were slapped, others punched or kicked or choked…Others who never saw such violence spoke of their constant fear of the leader’s wrath”

In the book, “Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape,” Jenna Miscavige Hill, the niece of David Miscavige, describes a heart breaking life of forced separation from her parents and what appears to be child slave labor.

Based on my research, it appears that harmful practices are built into the culture of the Church of Scientology and because it uses the teaches of LRH and Scientology, that DNA is in also inextricably embedded in Narconon. But Narconon’s sort of harm may be more insidious and dangerous, because they deal with — and exploit — very fragile and vulnerable people.

There is considerable evidence that there is little validity to Narconon’s method of drug rehabilitation and at worst, they cause harm. I don’t want them in our community. I don’t want them in any body’s community. I will continue to oppose Narconon at Trout Run.

No Narconon at Trout Run group page on Facebook

Envision Frederick County
Circuit Court judge sends Trout Run matter back to County Council
January 14, 2016
by Mark Long

Envision Frederick County
Should Trout Run be added to the Frederick County Register of Historic Places?
May 30, 2015
by Kai Hagen

Envision Frederick County
Narconon at Trout Run: “People of the Lie”
April 27, 2015
by Mark Long

No Narconon at Trout Run on the web

No Narconon at Trout Run on Facebook


NARCONON exposed

A selection of related media coverage…

Frederick News Post
Church of Scientology claims religious discrimination in Trout Run case
April 2, 2016

Frederick News Post
Trout Run designation case will go back to County Council for explanation of vote
Friday, January 14, 2016

Frederick News Post
Judge hears dispute over historic designation that would have allowed Narconon center
Tuesday, January 5, 2015

Frederick News Post
Frederick County files response in Trout Run case
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Frederick News Post
Trout Run owner asks judge to reverse Frederick County decision about historic designation
Monday, October 26, 2015

Frederick News Post Letter to the Editor
Trout Run stonework isn’t historic
Sunday, May 31, 2015

Frederick News Post article
Frederick County Council prepares for vote on Trout Run historic designation
Saturday, May 30, 2015

Frederick News Post article
Myths obscure Trout Run’s past
Saturday, May 30, 2015

Frederick News Post Letter to the Editor
Trout Run vote needs informed consent
May 24, 2015
by Carrie Larson

New York Times article
Plan to Preserve and Use Maryland Site for Scientology-Backed Rehab Angers Locals
May 20, 2015

Frederick News Post article
Group speaks out against Narconon’s plans for Trout Run
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Frederick News Post article
‘No Narconon at Trout Run’ gaining steam
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Frederick News Post column
No to Narconon
Friday, May 8, 2015
by Shannon Green

Eye on our Community on 1450 AM WTHU The Source
Kai Hagen Mark Long continue the discussion about the Trout Run / Narconon controversy
May 8, 2015

Eye on our Community on 1450 AM WTHU The Source. T
Kai Hagen and Dave Schmidt and callers discuss the Trout Run / Narconon controversy
May 5, 2015

Envision Frederick County column
Narconon at Trout Run: “People of the Lie”
April 27, 2015
by Mark Long

Washington Post article
Frederick Council delays vote on Scientology-backed rehab center
April 21, 2015

Washington Post article
Scientology-backed drug rehab triggers a furor near Camp David
April 20, 2015

WHAG (your4state.com VIDEO)
Approval for Scientology-Linked Drug Treatment Center
April 20, 2015