Narconon is dead, long live Narconon! How Scientology solved its drug rehab addiction By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, November 10, 2015 You have to give Scientology leader David Miscavige one thing: Once he makes a decision, it can get carried out very quickly. And after this weekend’s opening of a large new Narconon center in Clearwater, Florida, it’s plain that a major project Miscavige set into motion a couple of years ago is now pretty much complete. Narconon, as we know it, is over. And in its place is Narconon, version 2.0. <snipped> The Narconon program delivers no drug counseling at all, but is in fact just a repackaging, in nine booklets, of the exact same procedures that a beginning Scientologist goes through in a Scientology church. And while “students” at a Narconon are engaging in staring contests and yelling at ashtrays and baking for dangerously long periods in a sauna like good Scientologists, they are in a facility with zero medical personnel, staffed instead by program graduates. Recent lawsuits claim that the environment is rife with drug use and offers of drugs for sex. In other words, a Narconon is maybe the worst place for a family to send a young addict if they truly want a “secular” rehab center and extensive counseling. As Hamilton honed the language in his lawsuits, attorneys in other parts of the country picked up their own cases as it became obvious that there was blood in the water. Narconons everywhere used the same contracts, and made the same promises, and produced plenty of unhappy former customers who could never get their money back. And there was no sign that Scientology was making any moves to change those contracts or reform the existing Narconon network, even as its flagship center in Oklahoma declined until it was running on fumes. And worse: That claim of being secular now came back to haunt Narconon, as it couldn’t run to court and claim special protection under the religious rights guaranteed in the First Amendment, as Scientology does every time it finds itself being sued. Narconon appeared to be in serious trouble. Increasingly, we were getting reports that the companies that insured Narconon centers were freaking out, wanting to settle lawsuits that Scientology, characteristically, wanted to fight with its usual scorched-earth tactics. As Hamilton’s lawsuits began overcoming Scientology’s motions to dismiss with almost no defeats, things began to look dire. Narconon’s insurers were going to be cutting some large checks, and with no end in sight. But then, in January last year, Miscavige responded to the crisis by announcing that he was going to be opening up a whole new set of Narconons around the world. Say what? Was the Scientology leader simply ignoring the cancer eating away at Narconon by doubling down? Well, no. Former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder was one of the first to recognize what was really going on. Miscavige was actually bailing on Narconon, and was replacing it with something new. “I said it a year ago. He’s going to have to abandon Narconon as he knows it. The only thing he didn’t change was the name,” Rinder told us yesterday. That’s echoed by a former Narconon official, who asked not to be named. “It’s a totally different era than when it was run by Narconon International and what those centers used to be like,” the former official told us. “Narconon International is now dead. Everything is being run by ABLE, and it’s a Sea Org operation.” Let’s unpack that statement. Under the old model, individual Narconon centers, non-profit companies organized locally, were “licensed” under regional umbrella groups which were themselves all licensed by Narconon International, whose president was a longtime Scientologist named Clark Carr. Narconon International, in turn, was licensed by the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE), a Scientology entity staffed by Sea Org members which also oversees Scientology’s other stealthy front groups that try to introduce L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology to schools, prisons, and at big public events. We’ve written previously that one sign of how ABLE is tightly controlled by Scientology leader David Miscavige is that he had its president, Rena Weinberg, disappeared to “The Hole,” a bizarre Scientology prison. And then, at the end of January 2015, a year after Miscavige announced his plans for new Narconons, Carr himself vanished as the Los Angeles offices of Narconon International were suddenly cleaned out. Carr later turned up at a Narconon in Tijuana as his demotion became clear. But what happened to Narconon International itself? Our former official tells us that it’s simply been erased, and the new Narconon facilities are reporting directly to ABLE and its Executive Director, a blonde woman who has showed up at the grand openings of all the new facilities in recent months, but who is never named in press releases put out by Scientology. She’s pictured above, and we wager that one of our expert commenters will recognize her and supply us with her name. But we find it bizarre that Scientology, in its stories about the openings, only refers to her by her title. <snipped> ABLE is directly managing Narconon centers now and Narconon International is toast. Along with this new ‘Ideal Narconon’ era has come more control, of course. Facilities are having to start making both staff and students wear cheesy Narconon uniforms, and they have released new program materials, and Gold [the Golden Era Productions studios at the International Base near Hemet, California] has produced new Narconon videos and PSA’s,” the former official says. “This has been met with some backlash from within the network. First of all, more than a year ago, Narconon Gulf Coast in Destin, Florida officially left the Narconon network and became ‘Blu by the Sea.’ They do not use any Scientology or Narconon, and none of their staff are Scientologists either. They are completely out.” Narconon Suncoast, the facility that opened in Clearwater this weekend has also been through big changes, he says. It replaces another facility that was in nearby Hernando County and had been the subject of a lawsuit over its expansion. The county was forced to pay $1.97 million in that lawsuit, but the facility then shut down and moved to Clearwater, and changed hands. It’s now run by the team that operates a Narconon in Louisiana, our source says. And despite the windfall of cash from the Hernando County lawsuit, the press release for the new center indicates that it was built with money from Scientology’s own International Association of Scientologists (IAS). “They’re no longer hiding the direct connection to Scientology,” the former official says. “During the takeover, most of the Suncoast staff left because they were told they had to be on board with the ‘on Source’ ABLE program or get the fuck out. But that’s not even the biggest news.” The real bombshell? Quietly, he says, Narconon’s entire Northern California operation appears to have ditched Scientology’s program. “They recently closed one of their three centers, in Placerville, because they were not getting enough business and were starting to lose money. They had also tried to re-brand from ‘Narconon Vista Bay’ to ‘Emerald Pines,’ ‘Pinecone Grove’ and ‘Redwood Cliffs.’ This clearly didn’t work, as they still had the Narconon name. Now word has emerged from multiple sources that they have left the Narconon network altogether to do something different. Their Narconon-branded websites are down in maintenance mode, and their new site is elevaterehab.org. The site specifically mentions ‘SMART Recovery.’ I interviewed the president of SMART Recovery several years ago, and they are nothing like Narconon at all. However, given the number of Scientologists still on staff, I’d be skeptical that they are all they way out. It could be some hybrid like Per Wickstrom’s Michigan operations,” the former official says. “Anyway, there are a lot of shake-ups going on, and I’m sure more to come.” <snipped> [Mike] Rinder predicts that Narconon will not only become a boutique operation more about public relations than making money, but that it may soon begin claiming to be a “faith-based” operation to protect itself from new lawsuits. The former official agrees. “I think they have to eventually. Now that they’re announcing the connection to the IAS, and you have to call in your stats every week to a Sea Org member, how can you claim that you’re secular?” The complete article, with open comments, is here: http://tonyortega.org/2015/11/10/na...-scientology-solved-its-drug-rehab-addiction/ Tony Ortega Mod • 19 minutes ago Sure enough, we heard from the experts. She's been known as Shannon Walker and Shannon Wilson. We're sure others will know even more about her.