1Narconon Fresh Start, located about seven miles south of Caliente in Rainbow Canyon on SR 317, visited with residents Jan. 7 at the Caliente Community United Methodist Church.

Marcia Hurd, a local supporter, said three representatives from the headquarters of the drug rehab center were on hand to describe the books and process that is used, and how a patient comes into the system.

She said the 15 to 20 people attending the function at the church had a lot of questions, including questions about some recent bad press the center has been receiving from KLAS TV’s reporter, Nathan Baca, in Las Vegas.

Narconon Executive Director Josh Devon was not available for comment.

Hurd said at the meeting, “They kind of set us straight with the facts. The one thing that was mentioned was I thought everybody thought they were involved with the Church of Scientology, but they are not. They are non-secular and encourage people to go to any church they want. They don’t do any church stuff there, it’s just a recovery program trying to help these people get off their addictions,” said Hurd.

The open house session explained the way in which a patient is approved to come to the center. They have to be given a doctor’s clearance to be able to be there without the use of drugs and then an eight-step program is to be followed. It is not a locked facility, people can leave if they are not pleased.

She said the three people who were given the presentations were at one time drug addict patients in the facility and now work there.

Some concepts used at Narconon admittedly have been adapted from the writings of L. Ron Hubbard who founded the idea of Scientology in 1952. Hurd said they got to see the books. “The concept is fine, but there is no religion in it. It’s more than some 28-day programs. They are working on helping the person learn once again how to communicate with people. You need to learn how to fix and repair your relationships that you have destroyed and needed to face up to these responsibilities. It is more of a program to help the patient face up to who they are and how to return to becoming functional people is society.”

She said some of the Narconon patients do helpful things such as community service so they can start giving back and said that is how she and other members her Caliente Community United Methodist Church used them as a resource for helping with the church’s Pumpkin Patch program for Halloween and other events.

“We had a good discussion. I believe a lot of concerns and misconceptions were addressed. It was very informative and we have encouraged them to do it again,” Hurd said.