Rights of drug addiction patients violated: ruling

Scientology-linked Narconon exploited and abused those it purported to be treating: Human Rights Commission

The Montreal Gazette/April 15, 2014
By Catherine Solyom

Four years after he left Narconon Trois-Rivières, and two years after the so-called drug rehabilitation centre was shut down by the public health agency, David Love has been vindicated by the Quebec Human Rights Commission, which concluded the centre exploited and abused him — financially, physically and mentally — along with two other complainants.

Love, who was first a patient then an employee at Narconon until he realized it was closely linked to the Church of Scientology, said the commission’s recent decision was a “global win” against Narconon, which continues to run drug rehabilitation centres in several countries — putting patients’ lives at risk.

“Some say I’m in it for the money, but it’s not true — I want to help the addicts,” said Love, a native of B.C. who has stayed in Montreal to fight Narconon, first before the Quebec Labour Tribunal, then before the Human Rights Commission.

Both agencies mediated in his favour and against Narconon, an organization vaunted by Scientologists like actors Kirstie Alley and John Travolta.

“This isn’t just about criticizing Narconon and Scientology,” Love said. “It’s about saving lives. Drug addiction is an epidemic and I want to help addicts avoid the pitfalls of these pseudo treatment centres.”

Love wouldn’t disclose the amount the commission has proposed Narconon pay Love and the two other plaintiffs, also former patients, in moral and punitive damages. But he confirmed the total amount is in the “six figures.”

Michel Ménard, a lawyer for Narconon Trois-Rivières, said he couldn’t comment on the decision other than to say it was merely a recommendation — and not binding.

Citing confidentiality, Patricia Poirier, a spokesperson for the commission, said she couldn’t comment, either. The commission is still studying the case and has not yet decided whether to take the matter further and present it before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, she said.

Based on a three-year investigation of the facility in Trois-Rivières, the written document obtained by the Gazette says Narconon submitted Love to “degrading and humiliating practices,” “controversial teaching methods not based on any scientific study,” “poor living and food conditions” and “coercion and forcible confinement.”

Following the lead of the Supreme Court of Canada, the commission categorized drug addiction as a disability, and concluded that Love and others were discriminated against and financially exploited because of their disability.

Narconon patients — considered “students” by the facility — were charged $23,000 for the treatment, which typically lasted three to five months and included high doses of vitamins such as niacin combined with four- to five-hour sessions in a sauna — known as the “Purification Rundown.”

Following the teachings of Scientology founder and science fiction writer Ron L. Hubbard, patients were also deprived of any prescribed medication for mental illness, and had to undergo personality and IQ tests as well as training routines, which Love said were designed to make them accept to be under someone else’s control — and teach them how to control others.

Sitting in a restaurant near his workplace in Montreal, Love said it is this mind control that has left him suffering so many years later.

He is drug-free, but traumatized by his experience. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he often has nightmares and can’t sleep. Sometimes he bursts into tears sitting at his desk at work.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.

Educational DVDs and Videos