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NARCONON EXPOSED: Scientology’s flagship drug rehab facility is struggling, records show

NNArrowheadThe Underground Bunker has obtained internal financial records from Scientology’s flagship drug rehab facility in Oklahoma — known as Narconon Arrowhead — which show the toll that recent deaths, multiple lawsuits, and a drumbeat of bad press has taken on the treatment center.

At its website, Scientology says that the Narconon network has 155 centers and groups in 46 countries, but it calls Narconon Arrowhead its “premier” facility, with a 230-patient capacity. In the late 1980s, Scientology chose Oklahoma as the place where it wanted to set up its largest drug rehab center as a model for the rest of the world. Located originally on an Indian reservation in Chilocco, the center took over a former conference center on Eufaula Lake in Southeastern Oklahoma in 2001 and was renamed Narconon Arrowhead.

The drug rehab program uses a combination of lengthy sauna treatments and low-level Scientology training and claims success rates of 70 to 90 percent (which even its own legal affairs officer admitted in an e-mail were based on no scientific evidence). John Travolta, Tom Cruise, and Kirstie Alley have all praised Narconon publicly, and Cruise visited the Narconon Arrowhead facility with Katie Holmes in 2005.

But in recent years, as Scientology itself has experienced numerous crises, Narconon finds itself increasingly under attack. Three patients died at the Arrowhead center in a nine-month period in 2011 and 2012, and the families of Gabriel Graves, Hilary Holten, and Stacy Dawn Murphy have filed wrongful death lawsuits as they await the findings of multiple county and state investigations. Local media has covered those lawsuits closely, and Narconon Arrowhead was also the subject of a harsh NBC Rock Center segment last summer.

The result: Narconon Arrowhead is struggling to fill beds, and is operating at a severe loss.

That’s the conclusion we came to after obtaining Arrowhead’s very recent internal operating and financial records and discussing them with former executives who worked at the facility.


Eric Tenorio, who worked at Narconon in Oklahoma from 1997 to 2004, tells us he hasn’t seen patient numbers so low since the 1990s.

The records we obtained are weekly statistics that cover Narconon Arrowhead’s patients, staff, and gross income for the 14-week period of January 2 to April 3, with each week beginning and ending on Thursdays, in the Scientology tradition.

For each week, we have totals for the number of patients on hand, admin and technical staff, gross income received, overhead costs, money sent to the umbrella group Narconon International, and even the amount of money owed to vendors. As a Scientology entity, Narconon also tracks numerous quirky statistics, such as the number of “letters” sent and received each week (an average of 1,148 and 979, respectively), the amount of ‘bulk mail’ put out — which includes Internet promotional mailers (an average of 172,271 pieces weekly), the number of ‘success stories’ written by patients (184, on average), and total student ‘points’ (a whopping weekly average of 395,290).

“That’s a lot of words cleared,” joked a former Arrowhead employee, who explained that ‘student points’ was the kind of puffed-up statistic that Scientology relies on to make it sound like a lot of progress is being made. “That’s reading lots of pages worth 10 points each, with six words on a page,” the employee said with a laugh.

But Narconon Arrowhead’s situation is no joke. If the facility has a capacity for 230 patients, during the first 14 weeks of this year it averaged only 42 “bodies in the shop” — Scientology vernacular for customers — with a low of 39 and high of 45. That small number of patients produced a gross weekly income of only $59,724 with a weekly high of $100,394 on March 13 and a low of $22,226 on January 9.

“That’s worse than bad. Those are terrible numbers,” Tenorio says. “We had more people at Chilocco in 1996. They can’t operate like that much longer. It just doesn’t work.”

Tenorio points out that for each week, the overhead costs are the same: $133,000. But the gross income isn’t coming near covering that amount, with a deficit averaging $73,276. As a result, Narconon Arrowhead’s weekly cash on hand averaged only $40,970 while its ‘bills owed’ averaged $666,069.

The records also track the oldest bills that haven’t been paid, and at the end of the 14-week period, that oldest bill had reached an age of 425 days.

“Yeah, they’re more than a year behind on the bills they can’t catch up to,” an employee pointed out.

A key number is the amount that Narconon Arrowhead can afford to send ‘uplines,’ to its umbrella group, Narconon International. (NN International in turn is part of the Association for Better Living and Education — ABLE — which is staffed only with Scientology “Sea Org” members.) In the early 2000s, when the facility was operating closer to capacity, former employees say $20,000 to $25,000 would be sent weekly to NN International.

During the 14-week period we have records for, payments to Narconon International averaged only $994.

We’ve put into table form the information for all 14 weeks. Many of our readers had experience running Scientology divisions, and we’d like to hear their thoughts on these numbers. With only about 42 patients, Narconon Arrowhead is not the income-generating powerhouse it was supposed to be.


StatisticJan 2Jan 9Jan 16Jan 23Jan 30Feb 6Feb 13
Bodies in Shop39394244454040
Admin personnel48484747464848
Tech personnel262625252525.5 27
Gross Income43,54022,22687,74988,22845,42688,62161,488
Weekly Operating Cost133,000133,000133,000133,000133,000133,000133,000
Cash in House38,12335,48339,60239,88646,89254,81943,749
Bills Owed671,971693,796682,662653,799655,298673,972645,447
Payments to NNI1,6141,3746321,0667171,0351,238
Credit Collected38,82113,38116,95464,0603,95437,3966,603
Bills Paid70,73059,26965,81976,16250,25148,22979,846
Days from Oldest Bill335342349356370386393
Paid in Refunds0012,50000013,165
ORG Reserves2,5442,5452,5452,5452,5452,5462,545
Building Fund2,6602,6612,6612,6612,6612,6622,662
Gen’l Liabilities Fund16,93616,94116,94116,9416,6916,6946,694


StatisticFeb 20Feb 27Mar 6Mar 13Mar 20Mar 27Apr 3
Bodies in Shop40404145444543
Admin personnel4848.549.549.549.547.546.5
Tech personnel27272727.528.527.527.5
Gross Income61,48853,24828,835100,39440,80189,84924,328
Weekly Operating Cost133,000133,000133,000133,000133,000133,000133,000
Cash in House43,74942,59948,00544,78332,01735,89527,976
Bills Owed645,447642,537628,709716,513680,173673,704660,941
Payments to NNI1,2381,16252601,2831,084951
Credit Collected6,60321,2289635,9381,74913,3998,341
Bills Paid79,84664,00055,17142,44748,91761,93370,718
Days from Oldest Bill386393397404411418425
Paid in Refunds13,16510,00000000
ORG Reserves2,5452,5462,5462,5462,5462,5462,546
Building Fund2,6622,6622,6622,6622,6622,6622,662
Gen’l Liabilities Fund6,6946,6946,6946,6956,6966,6966,696

See more of our reporting on Narconon…

March 7, 2013: Narconon CEO Gary Smith loses counselor certification
March 11, 2013: Scripts spell out how Scientology directs the unsuspecting to its rehab network
May 9, 2013: Search Warrant Affidavit: Scientology’s Atlanta Drug Rehab Billed $3 Million in Insurance Fraud
July 19, 2013: STACY DAWN MURPHY: One Year After Her Death, Still No Answers
September 25, 2013: Scientology Drug Rehab Shut Down in Georgia
February 21, 2014: Federal judge dismisses Georgia class-action lawsuit against Scientology and rehab network


Celebrity Report

We continue not to care about whether that actor guy is maybe dating that television gal, rumors of which the television gal now denies. So now we can go on not caring about that thing we didn’t care about.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 23, 2014 at 07:45

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