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Because of Narconon's links to Scientology, and as well because many of the techniques used within a Narconon drug treatment program are dramatically different from other conventional rehabilitation and recovery methods, there is some serious debate about the legitimacy of the program, and questions about the reported success statistics.

How does Narconon drug treatment work?

As in any drug treatment program, the first stage in recovery is detoxification; and during this initially painful process the addict breaks their dependence on the abuse of drugs through complete abstinence. Unlike most medically supervised and conventional drug detoxifications, Narconon's subscription to abstinence includes any pharmaceutical interventions; and medications such as pain killers, anti seizure medications, anxiolitics or anti depressant drugs are never used.

The second stage involves both education and further detoxification. Using somewhat bizarre methods, participants are asked to learn to communicate within the physical environment, and this is said to better the addict's ability to resist temptation. Additionally, the recovering addicts are encouraged to proceed through a period of intense detoxifying sweating, using exercise and long periods in saunas to induce vigorous perspiration.

Narconon believes that metabolites of ingested drugs remain trapped in fat cells, and that only through intense sweating can these metabolites be excreted from the body. These metabolites, if allowed to remain in the body, are said to influence negative emotions and trigger drug cravings. To further induce recovery, participants are concurrently treated with massive doses of certain vitamins, particularly niacin, to accelerate toxin removal.

The third stage in recovery is a comprehensive social education course, which teaches students to better interact within the world, and to live an ethical and moral life without the use of drugs or alcohol.

In the Narconon philosophy, addiction is not considered a medical disease, and participants in a Narconon rehab are not considered patients, but rather students needing life skills to stay away from drug abuse. There is no aftercare in Narconon, and at graduation students are said to have learned what they need to live drug and alcohol free lives. Students are not considered to remain in recovery indefinitely as is more commonly assumed within the disease framework of addiction.

A Narconon program will last from 3 to 6 months in duration, and can cost anywhere from $10 000 to $30 000 to complete.

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Page last updated Aug 05, 2010

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