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LAHS hosts discredited anti-drug program

State advises against Scientology-connected Narconon program

An anti-drug program discredited by the state for inaccurate and misleading information continues to make presentations in schools in the Bay Area, including at Los Altos High School last semester.

Despite being discredited by the California Department of Education in 2005, the Narconon program made a brief appearance at Los Altos High School last semester when a health teacher invited a speaker from Narconon to present to students.

LAHS Principal Wynne Satterwhite said she and the vice principal later found the report by the state education department characterizing Narconon's information as misleading and inaccurate. Satterwhite said the school has since discontinued any presentations from Narconon.

The connections to Scientology and the non-scientific information are not all that apparent based on the program's curriculum and website, according to Superintendent Barry Groves. Groves said that on the Narconon website, there's no clear reference to Scientology, and the content on the website is typical drug abuse prevention information. This is likely how the program made its way into LAHS in the first place.

Narconon is a nonprofit drug abuse and rehabilitation program with an international presence. The website states that the program's rehabilitation methodology was developed by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology. Narc0non is also licensed by the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE), an organization directly established by the church to promote Scientology. Narconon has hosted school presentations for decades.

In 2005 the California Department of Education got involved. A report by the California Healthy Kids Resource Center found that Narconon's drug prevention program's presentations and resources include information that does not reflect accurate medical and scientific evidence.

For example, Narconon teaches that drugs burn up vitamins and nutrients, can be stored in body fat to be "released" years later for a delayed high, and marijuana-induced vitamin loss causes the food cravings known as the "munchies." All these theories do not reflect widely accepted medical and scientific evidence, according to the report.

Narconon also teaches information that is overgeneralized or exaggerated, according to the report. They teach that drugs are poison, drugs are only used to "avoid problems," and drugs ruin creativity and dull senses.

Along with Los Altos High School, nine high schools in Santa Clara County have invited Narconon speakers into classrooms since 2007, according to an in-depth report on the organization by the San Francisco Chronicle.

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