Scientology-linked drug rehab listed on NHS ‘traumatised’ vulnerable people

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A drug rehab centre linked to the Church of Scientology and listed on the NHS website allegedly left vulnerable people traumatised and “broken” by psychological exercises akin to “obedience training”, former staff members and patients have reportedly claimed.

Narconon was established in the United States in the 1960s and is based on the research and writings of L Ron Hubbard, the controversial founder of Scientology, who Narconon describes as “among the most beloved humanitarians in the last hundred years”.

Promising to get people “drug free for good”, Narconon puts those who opt to pay a reported £15,000 to stay at their facility in rural East Sussex through four steps – drug-free withdrawal, “new life detoxification”, “the objectives”, and “life skills”.

Despite the Care Quality Commission (CQC) having inspected only the charity’s facilities – in 2016 – and not its treatment programme, Narconon displays the watchdog’s “Good” rating on its website, which former patients said had reassured them that the clinic was being actively monitored.

But The Observer reports that although records released under freedom of information laws show that 19 complaints have been lodged about the facility, just four have been investigated by the CQC. The paper was told by the watchdog that Narconon falls outside its remit because the approach is “alternative” and does not involve medication.

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