Another Suit Against a Scientology-Based Drug Treatment Program

A new class action suit has been filed against Narcanon, the Scientology-based drug treatment organization, in federal court in Northern California. There have been many such lawsuits, including one here in Michigan earlier this year.

The class action suit, filed in federal district court in San Francisco, alleges breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, false advertising and unlawful business practices.

Nathan Burgoon, a California resident, attended the program at Narconon at 262 Gaffey Road near Hecker Pass Road in November 2014. He paid $37,500 for drug rehabilitation, and spent 20 days learning about Scientology and six to eight hours of each day in a hot sauna with limited drinking water, according to the lawsuit. He eventually quit the program and asked for his money back.

“Had Mr. Burgoon been informed that the ‘treatment’ at Narconon of Northern California consisted of the study of Scientology and participation in Scientology rituals, he would not have enrolled in a Narconon program,” wrote his attorney, Michael Ram of the San Francisco-based law firm Ram, Olson, Cereghino and Kopczynski LLP.

Other features of the program included study from eight books “substantially identical to the path of induction into the Scientology religion,” Ram wrote. Participants were told to take up to 5,000 milligrams of niacin — a vitamin sometimes used to treat heart problems — as well as drink 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil daily as part of a New Life Detoxification Program. Plaintiffs’ attorneys say the regimen is identical to a Scientology religious practice called a Purification Rundown, which is described in the L. Ron Hubbard book “Clear Body, Clear Mind.”

Scientologists claims that this program is independent of the church, but the material they use is drawn straight from scientology.

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  • Randomfactor

    That’s NarCONon. Remember, there’s a con at the heart of it.

  • When is somebody going to crack down on this nonsense? I’m sick and tired of seeing another bullshit lawsuit! I went through Narcanon. Sure, it’s expensive, and it’s Scientology, but it worked for me. See? It only cost me a hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars to halve my number of Thetans! What other program can provide results like that?

  • eric

    @2: I will halve your number of Thetans for only one thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars – a 99% savings! And like modern exorcisms, I work my treatment over the phone/video connection, so you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home.

  • bmiller

    I know this is a scam and all, but he spent $37,000 without even checking out the treatment protocal first? That seems a little…odd to me. Was he so besotted by drugs that he was unable to spend just a few hours Googling? The Church of Scientology certainly attacks critics, but have they scrubbed everything off the entire web? Really?

    If the argument is that he was SENTENCED to this program, then he should be suing the court system as well, but I didn’t see that.

    This strikes me a little bit like someone suing a Nigerian scammer for not following through with instance millions from a Prince.

  • The website specifically states that it is not affiliated with any religion. They talk about cognitive therapy and life skills. They emphasize that you can stay as long as you need to for your $37,000, and that they don’t use any drugs in the withdrawal stage. There’s not much there that would tip one off that it’s Scientology. There are some buzzwords like “taking responsibility for past misdeeds” but I doubt if most people who didn’t already know it was Scientology would get it. And they take insurance.

    Given the size and general niceness of their facilities, I’d judge them to be pretty successful. They look like resorts. The actual Scientology part is probably delivered by unpaid church members instead of actual medical professionals, so they have far more money to spend on the resort part of it than would comparably priced programs. An actual medical program in a nice private facility runs more than twice that.

  • bmiller: he may have spent the money, either on the advice of someone he trusted, who happened to be a $cientology shill, or on the advice of an employer who was threatening to fire him for his drug problems. Also, as ChristineRose said, the place may have looked nice (both comfy and professional), and their sales pitch may have appealed to the part of every addict that wants to believe he/she can get fixed with a minimum of effort or sacrifice.