Education A National Roundup

California Chief Warns Schools About Anti-Drug Program

By Sean Cavanagh — March 01, 2005 1 min read

The superintendent of California’s schools is advising districts across the state to closely evaluate the merits of an anti-drug initiative with links to the Scientology religion.

Jack O’Connell said last week that he had concerns about the Narconon Drug Abuse Prevention Program stemming from the results of a recently released study he commissioned on the presentations it offered to students in schools. (“National Anti-Drug Organization Is Focus of California Scrutiny,” June 23, 2004.)

That study found that Narconon did not reflect medically and scientifically based practices and offered students misleading information about drug use and abuse.

The Los Angeles and San Francisco school systems have dropped the Narconon program, said Hilary McLean, a spokeswoman for Mr. O’Connell. The state-commissioned study said Narconon has offered 5,772 presentations to 447,400 students in California since 1972.

In a statement, Narconon International President Clark Carr said the study presented only limited information about his organization’s anti-drug efforts, which he said were “accurate and relevant to the current challenges children face with drugs.”

A version of this article appeared in the March 02, 2005 edition of Education Week