Narconon is a highly effective drug rehabilitation program that was founded in 1966 by William Benitez. The word “Narconon” was chosen as it means “NARCOtics-NONe” or “No Drugs”. Narconon is a non-profit public benefit organization dedicated to eliminating drug abuse through drug prevention, drug education and drug rehabilitation.
William Benitez was not some ivory tower philosopher or aloof medical director. He himself was a heroin addict who had tried all existing methods of drug rehabilitation to try and find a way out of his addiction. At the time he made the decision to set up an Narcotic Foundation he was in Arizona State Prison, having been convicted as a habitual drug user. The following is from William Benitez telling his own story:
On my last trip to prison, I pled guilty on December 22, 1964 to possession of narcotics. Because I was being sentenced as a habitual offender, the sentence called for a mandatory fifteen years, and up to life. I remember speaking to one court official and telling him how I was still going to leave drugs alone and maybe even start a drug program. I remember his words so well: “The best thing to do with guys like you, after the first time, is take you behind a building and do you and everyone else a favor and put you out of your misery.”
My attorney arranged for me to go before the judge just before Christmas, feeling that the spirit of the holiday might be in my favor. It may have worked. I made my plea to the judge telling him of all the attempts I had made over the years to stop using drugs, such as joining the Marines, committing myself to hospitals for psychiatric care and therapy on several occasions, isolating myself in mining towns in a personal attempt to kick the habit, and even how two marriages had not helped me straighten up. I told him that in spite of all those failures, I was still going to make it and was going to find a solution to my problem, that I had not yet quit. He must have believed there was still a spark of hope for me. He sentenced me to the mandatory fifteen years, but instead of running it to life, he made the term fifteen to sixteen years.
After arriving at prison, a friend of mine gave me some reading material to keep me occupied while I was in the Orientation Cellblock pending transfer to general population. Among the material was an old, tattered book, Fundamentals of Thought, by L. Ron Hubbard. I had heard of his writings when I previously served a ten-year sentence at Arizona State Prison, but had never read them. I had always been an avid reader of books dealing with human behavior. Yet, this small book impressed me more than anything else I had ever read before. I read it over and over and then purchased additional books by Mr. Hubbard and studied them very carefully during the following year, even into the late hours of the night in my cell.
The material identified human abilities and their development. I was amazed I had never run across such workability within a multitude of other works I had studied over the years. I’m not a gullible person when it comes to accepting new or different approaches or ideas. If they work, fine. Otherwise, throw them out the window. They either work or they don’t. I was tired of experimenting with so many ideas and philosophies, many having credence only because some “authority” had written them.
What impressed me the most about [Hubbard's] materials was that they concentrated not only on identifying abilities, but also on methods (practical exercises) by which to develop them. I realized that drug addiction was nothing more than a “disability,” resulting when a person ceases to use abilities essential to constructive survival.
I found that if a person rehabilitated and applied certain abilities, that person could persevere toward goals set, confront life, isolate problems and resolve them, communicate with life, be responsible and set ethical standards, and function within the band of certainty.
I finally realized I had developed the essential abilities needed to overcome my drug problem. Feeling myself on safe ground, I knew I had to make this technology available to other addicts in the prison. I thought back over the years of all the junkies I had shot up with, and remembered their most treasured conversation, “One of these days I’m going to quit.” I had found the means and was going to share it with them. That’s when I made the decision real by writing it down on my calendar page in my cell.
So effective was the technology I had learned, that I experienced a freedom long lost to me. The tall prison walls became only temporary barriers. I realized that my 6×8 foot cell was all that I needed as a command post. Even back then, I knew Narconon would reach international proportions, and even wrote an article on it in 1967, “The Purpose of Narconon.”
The program was sanctioned by the warden, and it soon began to expand from its original twenty members.
I then wrote to Mr. Hubbard about Narconon. He and his organizations supported our program by donating books, tapes and course materials. We received hundreds of letters from throughout the world validating our efforts to make drug addiction and criminal or illegal behavior a thing of the past in our lives.
From those early days in 1966 Narconon did expand. Today there are over 120 Narconon groups and centers worldwide. The Narconon network uses breakthrough discoveries in the field of drugs and addiction to free substance users from addiction. The Narconon program is State licensed and remains a secular drug rehabilitation program and is open to all. The Narconon network is overseen by Narconon International and continental organizations based in the various continents around the world, which provide materials, training and establishment assistance.
Narconon East U.S. is responsible for the eastern U.S. Narconon organizations and assisting them with training staff and establishing and expanding their Narconon centers to better accomplish Narconon’s overall goal of eliminating drug abuse through drug prevention, drug education and drug rehabilitation.
If you have questions about Narconon or the Narconon drug rehabilitation program, contact Narconon East U.S. at 877-237-3307.