Former drug addict sues Scientology-based clinic after he jumped off balcony following week of treatment

Mail, UK/September 20, 2012

A former drug and alcohol addict is suing a Scientology-based clinic after he jumped off a third-floor balcony and suffered 'severe injuries'.

William Sweeney has accused the Pur Detox clinic in Dana Point, California, of negligence, medical malpractice and negligent supervision.

He claims that the clinic tried to wean him off his prescribed medication - which included an anti-psychotic and an anti-opiate - too quickly, following only a 20-minute interview.

The 'detoxification' programme was developed by the founder of Scientology, Ron Hubbard.

Mr Sweeney claims that in the week after his consultation with Dr Allan Sosin, as he was weaned off his medication in a 'quick taper', he was often left unsupervised and saw the doctor only once.

He says he was was never asked if he was suffering any withdrawal symptoms, according to Courthouse News.

On December 11 last year, he claims, he was led to the third-floor balcony and told to do 'visualisation exercises'. He was then taken back downstairs and allegedly left alone while a staff member assigned to him went to sleep on another floor.

'At approximately 6pm plaintiff returned to the unsecured third-floor, went out on to the unsecured balcony through an unlocked and unalarmed sliding door, and attempted suicide by jumping off the balcony,' reads his complaint.

Sweeney says the fall left him with multiple fractures and a 4-week stay in a hospital.

He is seeking punitive damages at Orange County Superior Court, medical and incidental costs, and lost and impaired future earnings.

Just last month, another rehab centre linked with Scientology was blamed for the death of three patients who allegedly spent five hours a day in a sauna for 30 days and were given mega-doses of vitamins.

NBC revealed that seven people had died at Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma since 2005.

The three recent most deaths of Stacy Murphy, 20, Hillary Holton, 21, and Gabriel Graves, 32, have attracted negative publicity and triggered an inquiry into practices at the clinic.

The 'non-profit, non-medical' rehab programme is also based on Hubbard's methods and is based on the idea that drugs are stored in the body's fatty tissues for years, but can be flushed out through a strict detox plan.

Fees can be anything between $12,000 and $20,000.

According to a then-patient at Narconon, Stacy was allegedly sent to a withdrawal facility after returning from day release high on opiates.

He patient alleged that the drugs that might have saved her life were either not available or that no one there at the 'unit' knew how to administer them.

Now, the string of deaths has raised fresh questions about this global network of rehab centres and the families of the deceased are demanding answers.

Critics of Scientology have attacked the church for discouraging followers from seeking medical help for what they call 'psychosomatic' disorders, including mental health issues and physical problems such as arthritis or kidney disease.

Pur Detox were not available for comment today.

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