I-Team: Scientology-run Center Could Face Inspections - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Scientology-run Center Could Face Inspections

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LAS VEGAS -- Nevada state health agencies want to open up a Scientology-run drug rehabilitation center for inspections.

The move comes after an I-Team investigation highlighting years of patient complaints and allegations of dangerous conditions.

Narconon is a drug rehab center in Lincoln County, 150 miles north of Las Vegas.

State health officials said they want to open up Narconon for inspections for the first time.

From sweating out alien spirits, to lifting objects with their mind, what happens at the drug rehab center is far from scientifically accepted.

Justin Vandergriend went to Narconon for opiate addiction.

"There was times they would throw an ashtray up there and they would say, try to levitate this with your mind," he said. "Control this ashtray."

Narconon course material was written by Scientology religion founder L. Ron Hubbard.

According to Hubbard's 1968 writings, Scientology aims to rid people of infesting alien spirits left behind after a 75 million year old galactic civil war.

The Vandergriend family and many others claim nobody told them Narconon was controlled by Scientology.

"They don't even have a certified doctor, a certified nurse, they don't have anybody," said Dave Vandergriend, Justin Vandergriend's father.

John Anchondo, a former Narconon salesman, said, potential patients weren't aware the rehab center was tied to Scientology.

"I'd tell them, ‘Look, either they're going to die or, you know, send them to us,'" he said. "I'm not going to lie to you. I did save a lot of people. The thing was, they didn't understand it was Scientology. You couldn't tell them that. I was like, why?"

State databases show none of the Narconon employees the I-Team has identified have any Nevada medical licenses or certification for drug counseling.

When attempting to ask them in person, the I-Team's interview requests were repeatedly denied.

Narconon did, however, send the I-Team a promotional packet.

It attempted to justify their nearly $40,000 non-refundable charge by claiming a 76 percent success rate.

Because Narconon accepts no state money, current law prevents state inspectors from verifying Narconon's claims.

After the I-Team alerted lawmakers to the growing number of Narconon complaints, state health agencies now aim to close the legal loophole.

"That is what this bill is intended to do, is to allow us to have oversight over those facilities now we don't have currently licensed," said Marla McDade Williams of the Nevada Health Division.

The state Senate Health Committee plans to vote Thursday on Senate Bill 501, which would give state inspectors power to inspect all drug and alcohol rehab centers, Narconon included.

The bill would then need to pass the Assembly before a signature from the governor.

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