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One of Scientology’s new Narconons got inspected — and turned up one surprising result


On September 5 last year, the Church of Scientology opened a Narconon drug rehab center in a country that it had forsaken several years earlier. Narconon United Kingdom was formally opened on that day at its East Sussex location with the usual fanfare — a fancy backdrop, some confetti, and a few speeches.

The decision to open a Narconon center in England after closing a previous facility there was part of Scientology leader David Miscavige’s grand new strategy about the rehab network. For several years, we’ve been documenting how Narconon has had to adapt to a new reality after several patient deaths in the U.S. resulted in heightened press and government interest, as well as dozens of lawsuits around the country.

For decades, Narconon had been a reliable moneymaker for Scientology, and had managed to avoid much controversy, in part because Narconon tried to keep its connection to Scientology somewhat murky. But investigations, particularly after three patient deaths in Oklahoma in 2011-2012, produced documents making it crystal clear that Narconon was part of Miscavige’s plans for Scientology “expansion.”

In the face of that increased scrutiny, particularly in Oklahoma, Miscavige had to face reality. Narconon’s grand plans to build large facilities and to look for ways to bring in revenue from insurance claims and even government subsidies suddenly seemed untenable. So instead, Miscavige regrouped and announced a new strategy two years ago. No more would there be a focus on large facilities and “independence” from the church. Now, there would be a focus on smaller, boutique facilities that would cater to wealthy clients in exclusive settings. Other new centers would be located in remote countries where there would be less chance for oversight. And all of it would be under tighter and more direct control of the Church of Scientology itself.


In California, for example, Miscavige paid $5 million for Larry Hagman’s exclusive estate in the town of Ojai, and the place is being turned into a rehab for celebrities, with only six beds. Just six “students” in a pricey facility — it’s the perfect embodiment of Miscavige’s new initiative.

And in England, Narconon United Kingdom joined that new wave of rehab facilities last year and opened for business in September. The good news for us, as Scientology watchers, is that the UK keeps a closer watch on such facilities than American jurisdictions do.

It turns out that England’s Care Quality Commission visited Narconon United Kingdom, and has now put out a report about what it found at the rehab center.


In general, the commission found that Narconon United Kingdom is providing a caring and effective service for its patients, and that some improvements needed to be made in patient safety and leadership. (The commission stated clearly that it did not review Narconon’s actual methods or claims for success, which have been the source of controversy in so many other places. So in that regard, this appeared to be a rather superficial inspection.)

What really caught our eye, however, is one very telling detail in the report of the inspection, which took place on December 8, three months after the facility’s grand opening.

In that time, the commission found, Narconon United Kingdom had served exactly three patients.


So, as we suspected, even with the large amounts of money David Miscavige is pumping into these new Narconon facilities, with property purchases, renovations, staff trainings in Los Angeles, and all the rest of the costs of running rehabs, the tiny numbers of people actually being served indicate that Narconon is no longer a moneymaker — it’s now purely for PR.

Give the report a look and let us know if there’s anything else we might have overlooked. As we said, we found it a bit superficial, and it would be interesting to see a government body take more seriously the claims that are being made at Narconons about drugs and treatment.

Narconon United Kingdom Inspection 2016 by Tony Ortega on Scribd


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Paulette_Cooper‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ audiobook now on sale has released the audiobook version of The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper and you can get the book for free if you’re signing up at Audible for the first time!

Read by the author (that’s us), the book tells the incredible tale of a journalist who was among the first to expose Scientology’s controversies, and nearly paid for it with her life. Go to Audible’s website for more details — [US version] [UK version]

To support the Audible launch, Paulette Cooper joined us for an “Ask Me Anything” session at Reddit on September 29, which covered a lot of topics about the book and about this website.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 10, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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