The Church of Scientology is targeting alcohol-dependent Aborigines with a "drug bomb" therapy which the church has been warned could kill people with kidney problems.
The Scientologists this week responded to a warning by the Northern Territory Health Department and stopped distributing literature which promotes a dangerous drug detoxification therapy.
The group has been moving through remote Australia on an indigenous recruitment drive.
Volunteer Scientology minister Kevin Chapman has with others been operating from a tent in a public park in the middle of Tennant Creek, handing out a pamphlet called Answers To Drugs.
The church has taken out full-page local newspaper advertisements which use the Aboriginal flag and have photos of Aboriginal people - who appear to be sitting in the Todd River near Alice Springs - holding up Scientology brochures.
The church claims its detoxification program developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard uses "exact technology" and is the only successful drug and alcohol dependency treatment in the world.
But the clinical nurse manager at the Tennant Creek Hospital this week advised the NT Government that the detoxification regime was dangerous and "potentially fatal" to renal patients. Renal disease is common among Aborigines in the NT.
The pamphlet gives a formula for a high dose "drug bomb" vitamin supplement to supposedly break drug dependency, which it warns can corrode the stomach and cause ulcers. It advises to take aluminium hydroxide tablets which gives adverse nervous system side-effects - to ease any upset.
The pamphlet also gives a recipe for a calcium-magnesium drink to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. The Health Department believes the whole regimen could be deadly to dialysis patients by causing hypophosphataemia - low phosphate levels in already weakened people.
The hospital approached Mr Chapman and requested he not distribute the pamphlets or conduct detoxification therapy.
National Scientology president Vicki Dunstan said her church had responded to complaints. Even though the pamphlets contained the formulas, she said church protocol was that people should obtain medical advice first.
"No person undergoing dialysis would ever be permitted to undertake such a program," Ms Dunstan.
"As soon as this matter was drawn to our attention, the person who had handed out the booklets was contacted and informed that they needed to cease handing them out and they are now being collected back and any person who had a booklet is being informed that they should not use the calcium-magnesium drink without medical approval."
NT Health Minister Kon Vatskalis said the Scientology brochures were " utterly irresponsible".