Doctors back schools dropping flawed antidrug program

The California Medical Association has declared unanimous support for school districts that have dropped Narconon and other “factually inaccurate approaches” to antidrug instruction from their classrooms, and will urge the American Medical Association to do the same.

“Inaccurate and Unscientific”

“State Superintendent Jack O’Connell urged all California schools on Tuesday to drop the Narconon antidrug education program after a new state evaluation concluded that its curriculum offers inaccurate and unscientific information.”
Schools urged to drop antidrug program

Nearly 500 California doctors also endorsed “scientifically based drug education in California schools” at the association’s annual meeting in Anaheim on Monday.

Narconon, a drug education program with links to the Church of Scientology, is offered free to schools and has been used in at least 39 California school districts, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as in several other states. It was co-founded by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology.

Although the CMA’s resolution carries no force of law, the state and national medical associations can influence public policy.

“The idea is to remove any agency that goes into our schools to teach without evidence for what they are teaching — this cannot be allowed,” said Dr. Charles Wibblesman, chief of the teenage clinic for Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco.

He is one of two San Francisco Medical Society doctors who sponsored the resolution. The other was David Smith, founder of the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic.

The resolutions were prompted by reports last summer in The Chronicle that Narconon lecturers were teaching students inaccurate drug information and by independent studies that found Narconon’s curriculum was unscientific, said Steve Heilig, director of public health and education for the San Francisco Medical Society.

What you should know about Narconon

The Scientology organization is a commercial enterprise that masquerades as a religion, and that increasingly acts like a hate group. It preys on vulnerable people through a variety of front groups, including Narconon (which operates in some prisons under the name “Criminon”).

Scientology is an unethical organisation, whose scriptures encourage and condone hate, harassment, and other unethical behavior

Scientology is rooted in the science fiction of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard – a man who had trouble telling fiction from fact.

Both Narconon and Scientology share notions of drug activity, which Narconon lecturers have shared with students over the last decade or so.

Here are some of those notions, which medical experts called inaccurate:

• Drugs accumulate indefinitely in body fat, where they cause recurring drug cravings and flashbacks for years, even after the user quits.

• The vitamin niacin pulls drugs from fat, and saunas sweat them from the body.

• Colored ooze is produced when drugs exit the body.

Narconon officials have consistently stood by the accuracy of their claims.

Following The Chronicle reports last summer, the San Francisco Medical Society conducted a review of Narconon’s curriculum and recommended that San Francisco schools drop the program that had been welcome in classrooms since 1991.

The school district barred Narconon, as did Los Angeles schools and several other, smaller districts.

Last month, state schools chief Jack O’Connell urged all California schools to drop Narconon. He based his recommendation on a state evaluation that also concluded the antidrug curriculum contained inaccuracies.

San Francisco Chronicle, Apr. 3, 2005

In last Sunday’s Bay Area section, a story about the California Medical Association adopting a resolution supporting schools that have dropped “factually inaccurate approaches” to anti-drug instruction should have more fully explained how the organization arrived at its decision.

The process began with the San Francisco Medical Association drafting a resolution supporting school districts that have dropped an anti-drug program provided by Narconon, an organization with ties to the Church of Scientology. The resolution, which concluded that Narconon’s program was based on faulty science, was submitted to the statewide medical association for approval.

A subcommittee of the state association decided to frame the resolution more broadly to include any organization whose program might be based on deficient science. In so doing, the subcommittee chose to remove Narconon’s name from the portion of the resolution that was forwarded to the full California Medical Association for action.

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San Francisco Chronicle, USA
Mar. 27, 2005
Nanette Asimov, Chronicle Staff Writer

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This post was last updated: Nov. 8, 2013