Oklahoma Narconon faces multitude of suits, investigations

Narconon Arrowhead, located in Canadian, Oklahoma, is facing four wrongful death lawsuits from Oklahoma families who blame the drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility for the deaths of the loved ones they sent there for treatment. They are also facing a suit by the family of a woman who is now in a permanent "vegetative state" due to an overdose of Oxycontin and heroin that her family says she got from Narconon employees. Both the Oklahoma facility and Narconon International are facing multiple civil actions related to employees "trading drugs for sex," as well as for incidents of insurance and credit card fraud.

The wrongful death suits involve four fatalities between 2009 and 2012. Three of them occurred within nine months of each other at the facility. The most recent death, that of a 20-year-old young woman, prompted an investigation by multiple agencies and state legislative action. A bill dubbed "Stacy's Law" aims to increase regulation of rehab facilities. According to one attorney, parents pay up to $50,000 to send their children to the facility where the teachings of Scientology are used to treat "students."

The attorney for the case involving the woman who is now permanently disabled has been dissatisfied with the number of documents provided, saying that Narconon Arrowhead has "really tried hard to prevent the public from knowing what's going on inside their facility." The respondents in the case, who include both people who worked at Narconon Arrowhead and some who received treatment there, are also fighting to keep their names out of the case. However, at the beginning of this year, the judge ordered an attorney for respondents to provide requested documents involving drug and alcohol use at the Canadian location. He has reportedly already seen hundreds of documents regarding drug use and "sexual misconduct."

For the families who have experienced the loss of a loved one, no amount of money can make their family whole. However, they are entitled to receive damages for the pain and suffering they will forever have due to other people's alleged misconduct. For the family of the young woman who survived but is forever changed by her drug overdose, some of those damages can be more easily quantified. Medical care over her lifetime could easily cost more than $30 million.

Source: McAlester News-Capital, "Attorney in Narconon Arrowhead lawsuit calls ruling a "Big Win"" Jeanne LeFlore, Jan. 07, 2014

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