Scientologists enlist police to push antidrugs drive in school

London, UK - POLICE officers across the country have been used by the Church of Scientology to promote its antidrugs campaign in schools.

Officers have been handing out booklets that praise the science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard, the church’s founder, and describe both prescription and illegal drugs as “poison”.

Scientologists say they are so trusted by the police that they have been asked to act as adult representatives for young people arrested on drugs offences.

One of the booklets handed out by Metropolitan police on behalf of the church’s Say No to Drugs campaign said Hubbard was creator of “the safest, most effective - and only - detoxification procedure of its kind”.

In total 1m booklets are distributed each year. They label alcohol and antidepressants as “poison” and say that oxycodone, a prescription painkiller, is “as powerful as heroin”.

A booklet on heroin says methadone, the drug used by the NHS to treat heroin addicts, is as dangerous as the class A drug and should not be prescribed.

Martin Barnes, of DrugScope, the drugs information charity, said: “These booklets fall short and should not be allowed in schools.”

Met officers have attended meetings in London and West Sussex hosted by the church, aimed at forging links with “community leaders”. They were briefed about the Say No to Drugs campaign and given information packs - although Scotland Yard said working with the church should not be seen as an endorsement.

Patrick Mercer, a Tory MP on the home affairs select committee, said: “If the information is misleading or inaccurate, then the police should simply not be distributing it.”

Ian Howarth, founder of the Cult Information Centre, said: “The booklets may lead some readers to venture closer to Scientology than might be wise.”

The booklets recommend the controversial charity Narconon as the best way to recover from drug abuse. Last year The Sunday Times revealed Scientology’s links with the charity, which had been using Hubbard’s methods to tackle drug abuse.

Last autumn the City of London police carried out an inquiry after some 20 officers accepted Scientology hospitality that included tickets to the Leicester Square premiere of Mission Impossible III, and a £500 a head charity dinner at the church’s British headquarters, both of which were attended by Tom Cruise.