Earlier today, a formal complaint was filed with the Canadian federal government against another Scientology drug rehab in Alberta — owned and operated by Peggy Smith. The 210-page document sent to the Canada Competition Bureau alleges mass marketing fraud, deceptive marketing practices, and conspiracy to commit fraud. The Calgary Narconon, a 4-6 bed drug rehab located in a modest home, is the last Narconon left in Canada.
“The Competition Act contains provisions addressing false or misleading representations and deceptive marketing practices in promoting the supply or use of a product or any business interest. All representations, in any form whatever, that are false or misleading in a material respect are subject to the Act. If a representation could influence a consumer to buy or use the product or service advertised, it is material. To determine whether a representation is false or misleading, the courts consider the ’general impression’ it conveys, as well as its literal meaning.”
April 2008 was the beginning of the end for Scientology drug rehabs in Canada, with a CBC TV – Radio Canada Narconon expose by Emilie Dubreuil. Following this explosive, hidden-camera investigative report, government and health agencies in Quebec opened their ears and drafted new legislation that sets standards for residential drug rehabs and enables health authorities to shut down those that fail to meet the requirements.
“Predatory cults are present in Quebec and they are actively recruiting addicts looking for a way out,” warned journalist Alexandre Dumas back in November 2008 on a TV documentary that followed Dubreuil’s expose.
The biggest attraction to the first Canadian Narconon located in Montreal, Quebec, was its slick online marketing campaigns that promised a 70-76% success rate for those who forked over tens of thousands into cult coffers. Intake counsellors played on the addicts’ and families’ desperation and vulnerability to get them in the door. Although the entire Narconon program is 100% Scientology, the victims were led to believe there were professional, qualified counsellors and government-licensed medical staff. Of course, this was not the case, and the majority relapsed soon after this so-called treatment.
As Scientology’s marketing scheme expanded, bringing in more addicts, the Montreal location could not accommodate the increase, so a big move was made to Trois-Rivieres, just outside Montreal. This new compound could handle up to 100 patients at a time and had a staff of about 80 or more.
In late 2009, ex-Narconon Trois-Rivieres patients and staff began to speak out about the high relapse rate and human rights abuses, including exploitation and discrimination. The Quebec College of Physicians banned doctors from associating with Narconon and the Ministry of Health ordered Narconon to stop all promotions of unrealistic success rates on its websites.
Numbers dropped drastically, and Narconon began to accept patients with psychiatric problems that co-existed with addiction illness. This prompted the health ministry to shut them down in April 2012 — citing patient safety concerns.
Earlier today, I spoke with David Lee, the founder of “Intervention Services and Technologies, Incorporated” concerning the Narconon success rates. In the latter part of 2001, Lee was a patient at the Narconon in Montreal and, after graduation, he was recruited onto staff. He then began to do interventions and “within 7 years, we kept expanding and were eventually the largest provider of interventions for Narconons that had ever been and perhaps, ever since” he posted recently on the Reaching for the Tipping Point forum:
Mr. Lee is now speaking out against Narconon, exposing the fraudulent success rate and, today he doesn’t think Narconon’s success rate is much above 10%. “In the beginning, Narconon gave me hope…but there was a price. It took away any hope in anything outside of Narconon ever working. And when Narconon didn’t work, I was left with nothing,” he says.
Lee adds: “So the next time you hear of another Narconon suicide, death, overdose, etc. or of the ‘staff member who used drugs again and again’ remember that the price of entry into Narconon is often to deny everything else…including something that might very well help you to stay sober or save your life.”
After reviewing countless documents concerning the success rate, it is clear that Scientology drug rehabs are nothing more than a scam, causing grief and despair to desperate families seeking help.
The Canada Competition Bureau has the power and resources to investigate and put a stop to such fraudulent marketing schemes, a move that could very well help save many lives. Suffering addicts deserve the same equal treatment and access to science-based medical care as anyone else with a debilitating disease, without distinction or discrimination, and must be told the truth concerning relapse and success rates reported in current medical literature.
David Edgar Love