Narconon: Alarm over drug treatment group

Counseling experts have issued a warning about a drug and alcohol treatment group operating in the Capital, linked to the controversial Church of Scientology.

The group, called Narconon Scotland, is targeting the city’s drug and alcohol addicts to join its rehabilitation programme.

Leaflets have been put through doors in Leith and Muirhouse urging addicts or their families to get in touch. The leaflets contain no references to the quasi-religious group despite using the principles of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard to treat addicts.

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.

The group was banned from Edinburgh University’s student union in 2004 after concerns were raised that posters it had put up about counselling services might be used to recruit new members for Scientology.

Support groups today raised fears about Narconon Scotland’s credentials and methods for treating people with drug and alcohol problems, which have been described as “unconventional”.

Tom Wood, chairman of the Edinburgh Drug and Alcohol Action Team, said: “We know of this group but we would only ever encourage people to attend credible counselling groups. I would advise people to be careful about engaging with any group that does not make its qualifications clear.”

Narconon, which claims to have helped 250,000 people overcome drug and alcohol addictions, was formed in 1966 by William Benitez, a former heroin addict, with the help of Hubbard – a science fiction writer.

Peter Anderson, rough sleepers manager with Edinburgh homeless charity Streetwork, said he was concerned about people being going to Narconon.

He said: “They don’t make clear exactly what they do, what it will cost and what is involved, so it does make you cautious.

“What we need is the addicts in this city working with professional and approved agencies not a group that comes along and offers unproven methods that might confuse the treatment picture.”

Consumer Alert: Scientology vs. Health

“Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally, and socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill… (Scientology is) the world’s largest organization of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy.”
– Justice Anderson, Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, quoted atWhat judges have to say about Scientology

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Drug Forum said: “Perhaps this case underlines the urgent need for more properly validated methods for drug treatment than are currently available.”

Narconon did not respond when contacted for comment.


Scientology is a system of beliefs, and practices created by American science-fiction author L Ron Hubbard in 1952.

Promoted as a religion, scientologists are dedicated to self improvement through counselling and rehabilitation.

But critics claim it is a fake religion based on making money from and exploiting its followers.

One of the most high profile followers is Tom Cruise. His fiancee Katie Holmes recently gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Suri, according to the principles of Scientology, which say a woman must give birth in silence.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Edinburgh Evening News, UK
May 5, 2006
Andrew Picken

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday May 5, 2006.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at