The Narconon Program

The addict has been found not to want to be an addict, but is driven by pain and environmental hopelessness…. As soon as an addict can feel healthier and more competent mentally and physically without drugs than he does on drugs, he ceases to require drugs.

 - L. Ron Hubbard

First Narconon Program

The Narconon Program follows a social educational model of drug rehabilitation.  Drug Addiction is not seen as a disease, but rather a set of biological, psychological, and social problems which when addressed will transform the former addict into a happy and productive member of society.

The program began in the Arizona State Penitentiary when William Benitez, then an inmate, began researching the cause of the condition which had landed him in jail.  One of the most influential books he read “Fundamentals of Thought” by L. Ron Hubbard became the cornerstone to a treatment program which would later become Narconon. While reading that book Benitez realized that his addiction had stemmed from a lack of ability, not a lack of moral character. The abilities that he lacked, Benitez believed, were so fundamental to life and living that without them drug addiction seemed almost guaranteed.

In that first program Benitez, upon advice from the author of the book he so now admired, suggested a set of “training routines” which could rehabilitate a person’s ability to confront life.  While there are many theories and explanations as to why the program works, the real proof has always been the success of its graduates.

Confront as it is used here is the ability to comfortably accept a situation without negative emotional reactions.  In many addicts it is this basic ability that is missing.  We have all at times found our “confront” of situations lacking.  Procrastinating study before a big exam, the financial stress of late bills are examples of situations where most people experience negative emotions.

For the addict, situations such as these and many similar ones create a need to mask these feelings.  This becomes the “problem” of addiction.  The addict tries to escape some physical or emotional pain by taking drugs.  The person finds that the drugs offer temporary relief, so continues to abuse them. This could be a physical or emotional pain, or the discomfort of boredom, peer pressure, lack of social skills. Other programs recognize this as well, in 12 step programs this pain is known as a “trigger”.

As drug use continues the addict becomes physically dependent on the drug.  The drug addict is now completely ensnared in the downward spiral of addiction.  Instead of learning socially acceptable means to handle the pain the addict can only turn to drug use.  The social educational approach of the Narconon programs rehabilitates these social skills as well.  While attending the Narconon program addicts are referred to as students.

The Narconon program is a drug free program, medication is not used to treat the addiction, although non addictive, non-psychoactive prescribed medications for underlying conditions are allowed.

Grateful acknowledgment is made to L. Ron Hubbard Library for permission to reproduce a selection from the copyright works of L. Ron Hubbard.