Scientology tries stealthy opening of new drug rehab in Canada and gets stuffed - 2019-05-23
A few years ago, we noted that Scientology leader David Miscavige was making a pretty major shift in his Narconon strategy. For years, Scientology's drug rehabs had grown larger as Miscavige, with the help of his celebrities, touted Narconon as "the authority" on drug abuse, and the centerpiece of that movement was its flagship clinic in Oklahoma, Narconon Arrowhead.
Built to house up to 250 patients ("students" in Narconon parlance), the idea was to try to legitimize Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's quack medical ideas and eventually partner with governments to get that really sweet federal and state cash flowing in. But fate intervened, three patients died at Arrowhead in a nine-month period, another Narconon in Georgia was shut down after a patient death and allegations of credit card fraud, and other Narconon centers were hit with dozens of lawsuits about their deceptive business model and unsafe environments.
But Miscavige is no dummy. Faced with a Narconon meltdown, he shifted strategies. He gave up on the idea of big clinics and instead has pursued a new, more stealthy plan, opening more Narconon clinics in countries where there's less oversight, and in this country he's dialed back new Narconons to be very small, boutique clinics with only a handful of beds each. Arrowhead, meanwhile, was downgraded to "halfway house" status, and other new clinics have similarly looked for ways to downplay their status as places where addicts might be facing serious medical emergencies, and pretend to be more like group homes in the hopes of slipping through zoning regulations.