Drugs Bad! Scientology Good!

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Control the children and you control the future. The corporate shell game that is Scientology Inc. knows this, which is why they're trying to distract us with something shiny...

Anyone listening to a classroom talk by Narconon Drug Prevention & Education is unlikely to recognize the connection with Scientology; the lessons sound nothing like theology . . .. Narconon is an efficiently run program with a well-received anti-drug message for grades three to 12. Its popularity with kids and teachers cuts a wide swath -- from the posh suburbs of Malibu to the urban classrooms San Francisco. Speakers pepper their presentations with personal tales of drug abuse and redemption and emphasize the importance of knowing how drugs affect the body.
while they're a'fixin' to club us over the head:
Instruction is delivered in language purged of most church parlance, but includes "all the Scientology and Dianetics Handbook basics," according to Scientology correspondence obtained by The Chronicle.

Narconon's anti-drug instruction rests on these key church concepts: that the body stores all kinds of toxins indefinitely in fat, where they wreak havoc on the mind until "sweated" out. Those ideas are rejected by the five medical experts contacted by The Chronicle, who say there is no evidence to support them.

Narconon was created by L. Ron Hubbard, the late science-fiction writer who founded Scientology, a religion that claims to improve the well-being of followers through courses aimed at self-improvement and global serenity. Narconon operates a global network of drug treatment centers, as well as education programs for elementary, middle and high school students.
As with everything else Scientology touches, Bad Science is everywhere:
Narconon speakers tell students that the body stores drugs indefinitely in fat, where they cause drug cravings and flashbacks. Students are told that sweating through exercise or sauna rids the body of these "poisons." And, some teachers said, the speakers tell students that the drug residues produce a colored ooze when exiting the body.

"It's pseudoscience, right up there with colonic irrigation," said Dr. Peter Banys, director of substance abuse programs at the VA Medical Center in San Francisco.

Dr. Igor Grant, professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at UC San Diego, agreed: "I'm not aware of any data that show that going into a sauna detoxifies you from toxins of any kind." Three other addiction experts contacted by The Chronicle echoed their skepticism.
and
A Chronicle review of Narconon's curriculum found that, like the Church of Scientology, Narconon embraces Hubbard's belief that experiences are recorded in three-dimensional images in the mind, with sound and smell, called "mental image pictures" or "pictures in the mind." Taking any drug "scrambles" the pictures.

"Our take-home message is that drugs are essentially poison," Carr said. "This is how we basically explain it to them. Drugs scramble pictures. When people take drugs, they affect the mental pictures."

Scientologists believe that scrambled pictures interfere with one's ability to "go clear," a state of mental purity that is a goal of the religion.

In his 1979 Scientology text "Clear Body, Clear Mind," Hubbard writes that high doses of the vitamin niacin and hours of sauna flush out drugs, "freeing the person up for mental and spiritual gain." He calls it "Purification," and Scientology churches often are equipped with saunas, said ex-Scientologists and a tour guide at San Francisco's church.

Hubbard writes that drugs in fat "re-stimulate" the unwanted mental pictures created when the drugs were taken.

The real irony in all of this is that Hubbard liked his prescription drugs. And other peoples', too (link to rotten.com, not work-safe).

5 Comments

Chris, the Scientology thought police are undoubtedly on to you for re-posting the Chronicle article. I fear for you, the Chronicle, and for myself for showing that I've read anything slandering Scientology. Repent now. Praise Narconon. Denounce the Chronicle.

Whatever happened to God? Wasn't God central to religion, up until about the 80's or 90's?

Well, I'm no fan of scientology (I once ran a therapy group for survivors of cult abuse), but the so-called medical experts aren't being very "clear" either.

There are two entwined issues here:

1. The ability of the skin to cleanse toxins.
2. The persistence of drugs or their effects in the body.

1. The skin is the largest organ in the body, and in that role it is the main way (after the kidneys) that toxins are in fact released, by way of sweat. Tears also release many toxins. So indeed, the skin does provide this function -- but not with drugs.

2. Drug residue does not come out of the skin, but there is drug effect residue in the form of increased neurological sensitivity in the brain. This can persist for years after the discontinuation of drug or alcohol use. But it's not the drug itself that persists in the brain, it's a complex neurochemical sensitivity (and this is the main cause of relapse). It is not a "colored ooze."

The reason that the Scientology people talk about "fat stores" goes back to the early LSD research in which some subjects had hallucinatory flashbacks months or years after use, and it was originally thought that residual LSD might have been stored in fatty deposits and later released as the fat was burned. But this turns out to be false. The flashbacks are neurological as well.

Ross,

I have heard about the "fat stores" theory, but I never really thought too much about it, mostly because I don't take drugs and it wasn't central to my life. However, now I'm curious what causes the flashbacks months or years later. Is the drug stored in the body at all or is it some kind of neural misfire or what?

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on June 9, 2004 11:12 PM.

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