Scientology front-group Narconon faces license revocation in state of Georgia

State looks into Narconon of Georgia

The Georgia state Department of Community Health has notified Narconon of Georgia it intends to revoke the clinic’s license for misrepresenting itself as a residential drug treatment facility.

  • Narconon of Georgia has been found to be violating its license by running a residential drug rehab program while only permitted to operate as an outpatient facility.
  • “By claiming to be a residential program, they can obviously charge a lot more,” Attorney Jeff Harris told WSB radio.

    He is suing Narconon on behalf of Patrick Desmond’s family after Desmond died in 2008. (Read more here) Narconon’s executive director is accused in that lawsuit of telling both Desmond’s family and the drug court administrator in Brevard County, Florida, that hers was a 24-hour residential treatment facility when it is not. […]

    While profit is one motive for Narconon to claim it is a residential program even though it is not licensed as such, Harris said an outpatient facility is not under as much scrutiny by regulators as is a residential program.

  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the revocation action

    came after the department’s latest probe of the Norcross treatment center, the fourth so far this year. In its findings, DCH said that its review of court records from a DeKalb County lawsuit revealed sworn statements from the facility’s executive director confirming that it was knowingly operating as a residential program when licensed only for outpatient services.

  • WSB TV broadcast a series of five reports in October during which a whistleblower told reporter Jodie Fleischer she altered Narconon’s letterhead to remove the word “outpatient” when writing to courts and probation officers around the country.

    Records also showed 21 out of 28 patients interviewed, who told state inspectors they were here from out of state, as part of Narconon’s residential program.

    The DCH Commissioner announced he was launching a new state investigation into the facility’s conduct, and investigators conducted a surprise inspection of the Norcross facility last month.

    For the first time, inspectors cited violations, which fall into the state’s most serious tier, meaning they “caused death or serious physical or emotional harm” or “pose an imminent and serious threat.” […]

    As recently as November, the website belonging to parent organization, Narconon International, was still advertising the Georgia program as residential. However, state investigators repeatedly overturned violations resulting from years of complaints, for fear the evidence wouldn’t hold up in court.

  • Barbara Marschalk, attorney for Narconon of Georgia, said her client has requested a hearing, as allowed by state law. A DCH spokesman told WSB TV those hearings can take months to schedule and the program is allowed to stay open during that time.

Deficiencies report regarding Narconon of Georgia PDF file
Narconon’s response
WSB Radio News Reporter Pete Combs began investigating Narconon of Georgia after learning of the lawsuit filed against the drug rehab organization by the family of Patrick Desmond. This series of reports includes background material and documents. Note: Narconon Debunked by its own Expert, and The Narconon-Scientology Connection

What is Narconon?

What other problems does Narconon currently face?

  • The parents of a 21-year-old Texas woman who died this spring after spending two days at Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the organization last August.
  • In November a lawsuit was filed against Narconon Arrowhead by a man who suffered from the same disease as the woman who was found dead at the facility earlier this year.
  • Last April health officials in Quebec, Canada ordered the Narconon rehabilitation centre for drug addicts in Trois Rivières to evacuate and relocate its 32 residents, citing concerns over procedures that “may represent a risk to health” and a lack of doctors on staff.

Research resources on Narconon

NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams report on Narconon, Aug. 14, 2012.
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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday December 27, 2012.
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