Scientologists will 'purify' drug addicts - for £15,000 - 2005-03-27
'The course teaches you that you can be anything you want to be,' Danielle says with a wide smile. 'I hit the jackpot with Narconon. I have a brand-new life. I have a little girl and I neglected her, but not any more.'
It was only later, as she was finishing her course, that Danielle became aware of Narconon's controversial rep utation. Its programme, which claims to have helped 'purify' 300,000 people around the world, has been attacked by mainstream drug experts alarmed at the way Narconon dispenses massive amounts of vitamins to its clients above recommended daily limits. They point out that Narconon's claims that it has a success rate of 80 per cent, are almost impossible to verify independently, and express concern that the programme is a recruiting ground for Scientology.
But it is clear that many people fervently believe in the programme - which they can quit at any time - and, like Danielle, have become evangelists for it. Cheers star Kirstie Alley is now a spokeswoman for the organisation, which she credits with helping her ditch her coke habit. American cult musician Beck played a Narconon fundraiser in Los Angeles last year. He told an interviewer last week: 'The drug-rehabilitation programmes have the highest success rate of any in the world.'