State schools chief urges schools to drop anti-drug program
The Associated Press, February 23, 2005
California's top education official urged all California schools to drop the Narconon anti-drug education program after an evaluation released Wednesday found it taught inaccurate and unscientific information. Jack O'Connell, superintendent of public instruction, launched the independent evaluation of the program after The San Francisco Chronicle reported in June that Narconon taught some beliefs and methods of Scientology to students without their knowledge.
Narconon Drug Prevention & Education, a free program with ties to the Church of Scientology, made presentations in at least 39 California school districts since 2000, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento. The Chronicle reported that Narconon taught that drug residues remain indefinitely in body fat, causing people to experience repeated flashbacks and cravings - a belief also held by the Church of Scientology.
Some teachers also reported that Narconon instructors told students that the body can sweat out drug residues in saunas, and that as drugs exit the body, they produce colored ooze, the Chronicle reported.
San Francisco and Los Angeles schools banned Narconon after the reports appeared.
The evaluation requested by O'Connell examined Narconon for scientific accuracy and how effective its teaching methods were. The California Healthy Kids Resource Center assembled a panel of five medical doctors and nine school health education specialists to conduct the review.
The researchers said the Narconon curriculum "does not reflect accurate, widely accepted medical and scientific evidence."
"Some information is misleading because it is overstated or does not distinguish between drug use and abuse," the researchers reported.
Other inaccuracies cited by the report include:
Narconon also incorrectly told students that the amount of a drug taken determines whether it acts as a stimulant or sedative, and that drugs "ruin creativity and dull senses," the researchers said.
Narconon's president Clark Carr defended the program.
"Narconon is proud that throughout our nearly 40 years of service we have been able to help millions of youth worldwide to turn away from drug experimentation and a life on drugs," Carr told the Chronicle.
Carr was reached by phone in Hawaii, where he said he had been invited to introduce Narconon to classrooms there.
Hawaii state school officials had already contacted their California counterparts, O'Connell said, to ask about the report's findings.
Comments. Questions. Broken links? Bad spelling! Incorrect Grammar? Let me know at webmaster.