Drug addicts sent to Scientologists

Norway's government has spent large sums sending drug addicts to a controversial Danish treatment run and supported by Scientologists.

The Narconon center in Denmark bases its treatment on the teaching of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology, the Newspapers' News Agency (ANB) reports.

Astrid Skretting, a researcher at the State Institute for Drug and Alcohol Research (SIRUS), fears that Norwegian addicts end up as converts to Scientology after their stay.

The treatment course can cost from NOK 180,000-200,000 (USD 29,300-32,600). An information consultant at Norway's Health West said that their region was honoring existing agreements with Narconon but had no current cooperation.

Narconon Denmark uses Hubbard's controversial personality and IQ tests to assess their clients but manager Ole Thiemer insisted that the center is independent of the church.

"The Narconon program is non-religious and we don't put any religion in it. Our fundamental objective is to cure addiction so people can become valuable citizens," Thiemer said.

Thiemer knew of criticism from experts in the USA claiming that Narconon's methods had no scientific basis. He has publicly stated that he is a former addict that was cured by Narconon's program and then converted to active Scientology.

"We have clients that become Scientologists when they complete treatment. Maybe they think like I do, that if just a tiny part of Hubbard's technology can free them of addiction, what could all of his teaching do," Thiemer said.