Funding sought for meth cops' health regimen

Detoxification program is touted by officers, but legislator is asking for scientific proof it works

Salt Lake Tribune, February 22, 2008

A proposal before lawmakers would allocate $440,000 for police officers exposed to methamphetamine labs to undergo a regimen designed to excrete poisons.

The regimen has roots in Scientology and officers who have followed the routine say their health has improved. But no studies have confirmed whether the regimen eliminates poisons, and toxicology experts say meth-related chemicals would have long ago passed through the body.

A committee comprised of members from the Legislature must still decide whether to fund the regimen. Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has been the program's most high-profile supporter.

"These cops are as skeptical and cynical as anyone and they come out of it just saying it's made a huge difference in their life and their health," Shurtleff said.

Shurtleff already has spent $140,000 of the money included in the proposal but is asking legislators to reimburse his office. The other $300,000 would provide additional treatment. The $140,000 paid for about 20 officers to participate in the regimen. Officers exposed to meth labs have said they suffer from symptoms such as paranoia, fatigue, insomnia and neurological problems. Advocacy groups have highlighted two narcotics officers who died at an early age from cancer.

Researchers at the University of Utah are studying whether there is a causal link between the meth labs Advertisement and the officers' health.

Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble, R-Provo, visited the clinic conducting the program and asked its director for empirical evidence of whether it's successful.

"We're willing to go along," Bramble said Wednesday. "The police are reporting, anecdotally, that this has been helpful, but we'd like to see a little more sound scientific basis for it."

The detoxification regimen is offered to current and former officers at the Orem offices of Bio Cleansing Centers of America. The program includes hours of exercises and sweating in a sauna as well as diets high in anti-oxidants and other nutrients that boost the excretory system.

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