Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: May 10, 2013
Ivester says Narconon Arrowhead deaths prompted
In the past two years, three Oklahoma families sent
loved ones to a substance abuse program at Narconon Arrowhead with
the hopes of recovery. Instead, those families wound up planning
funerals. Sen. Tom
Ivester responded by filing legislation ensuring the state would
have oversight of facilities operated by Narconon, known to have
close ties to the Church of Scientology. Senate Bill 295, by Ivester
and Rep. David Derby, was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin this past week.
Ivester said the new law gives Oklahoma’s Department of Mental
Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) the ability to regulate
and inspect Narconon facilities.
“There have been a total of seven deaths in seven years at
Narconon Arrowhead and no requirement for state certification,”
said Ivester, D-Sayre. “There have been multiple lawsuits
for wrongful death, fraud and deceit filed against that facility.
I wanted to figure to out what we could do as a state to provide
a safe environment for the people who go there and make sure there’s
no fraud or deception.”
There have been reports of unorthodox methods at the Narconon facility
on Lake Eufaula, like requiring patients to endure hours of extreme
heat in saunas and administering questionable doses of Niacin, a
vitamin more widely known for improving cholesterol levels. Ivester
said Narconon was unique because it didn’t portray itself
as a rehabilitation facility, but as a “recovery” facility,
meaning under state law, they were not regulated as a rehab center
would be. SB 295 added the terms “recovery” and “recovery
support services” to the list of services ODMHSAS is authorized
to inspect and regulate.
“I am very pleased that SB 295 was signed by Gov. Fallin and
will now become law,” said Derby, R-Owasso. “This gives
the state Department of Mental Health the ability to make sure our
citizens are safe in their hour of need. Closing this loophole that
prevented the regulation of a group such as Narconon is an important
matter and will only serve to help those Oklahomans in the most
The new law takes effect November 1, 2013.
For more information contact:
Sen. Ivester: (405) 521-5545