Rehabilitation centre ‘forces patients to sit in saunas for five hours and yell at objects' and is 'converting drug addicts to Scientology'

Daily Mail, UK/May 21, 2017

By Jacob Polychronis

Converting to Scientology is the key focus of treatment at a Victorian drug rehabilitation centre, former members have claimed.

Ex-students of Narconon in Warburton, east of Melbourne, claim they were mistreated at the centre and were forced to take part in Scientology practices.

Narconon students are expected to yell at inanimate objects, consume large amounts of vitamins, and sit in saunas for up to five hours, A Current Affair reported. 

Narconon has long been subject to controversial claims in government reports and by former students that it is a front for the Church of Scientology, although it has previously said it operates independently.  

A former chef at Narconon - a worldwide organisation which has been linked to several deaths in the United States - has revealed details about the inner-workings of the Warburton rehab centre.

Alan - who asked for his last name to be withheld - said staff members are expected to do a course based on the teachings of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard.

Students work to the Scientology-type course and often become violent, Alan told the program.

Drug addicts pay around $30,000 for a six to nine month stint at the rehab centre, as well as an additional $260 weekly fee for board.  

The rehab centre has no doctors or psychologists on-site, despite being home to troubled drug addicts, according to A Current Affair.

Alan said he suffered an asthma attack while working at the centre and was unable to use his Ventolin.

He said a common Scientology method for 'medical assistance' was performed on him instead.

'They did one of their things, which they do, which is called a 'Body Com',' he told A Current Affair.

'They'll put their hands on you and they'll go, 'can you feel my hands?' And you'll say, 'yes', and they'll thank you.

'I used to keep my Ventolin hidden. They knew I was an asthmatic, but I'd keep it well hidden so no one saw it.' 

The centre was sued in April by a private security company over claims of $150,000 in unpaid debts. 

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has called for Narconon to be shut down and slammed the government for allowing it to operate.

'What's happening at Narconon highlights the fact that there is inadequate regulation or no regulation when it comes to treating people with substance abuse,' Senator Xenaphon said.

'When you have people so vulnerable, so desperate for help, to be roped in to something that appears to be a front for Scientology is just not on,' he said. 

Daily Mail Australia has contacted The Church of Scientology and Narconon for comment. 

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