Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP - U.S. Headlines
Changed:10:20 AM on Thursday, February 24, 2005
Calif. schools chief: Drop anti-drug class
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The state's top education official urged all schools to drop an anti-drug program after an evaluation released Wednesday found it taught inaccurate and unscientific information. Jack O'Connell, superintendent of public instruction, launched the evaluation after The San Francisco Chronicle reported on inaccuracies in the program in June.
The panel of five medical doctors and nine school health education specialists said the program "does not reflect accurate, widely accepted medical and scientific evidence."
Narconon Drug Prevention & Education, a free program with ties to the Church of Scientology, made presentations in at least 39 California school districts since 2000, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento. San Francisco and Los Angeles banned Narconon after the Chronicle reports.
Some teachers reported that Narconon instructors told students that the body can sweat out drug residues in saunas, and that as drugs exit the body, they produce colored ooze, the Chronicle reported. Some other inaccuracies cited by the evaluation and the Chronicle - including that drug residues stay in body fat, causing people to experience repeated flashbacks and cravings - echo beliefs held by the Church of Scientology.
Narconon's president Clark Carr defended the program after the evaluation. "Narconon is proud that throughout our nearly 40 years of service we have been able to help millions of youth worldwide to turn away from drug experimentation and a life on drugs," Carr said.
Among other findings, the panel determined that Narconon also incorrectly told students that the amount of a drug taken determines whether it acts as a stimulant or sedative, and that drugs "ruin creativity and dull senses."
On the Net:
Education Department: http://www.cde.ca.gov