In her October 2, 2004 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, which can be found on this page:
Nanette Asimov describes a letter from Steve Heilig of the San Francisco Medical Society, who headed a six-person review panel that evaluated the Narconon Drug Education Program. The panel had nothing good to say about Narconon. To the contrary, they were highly critical.
Now you can read for yourself the letter from Steve Heilig to Trish Bascom of the SFUSD School Health Programs Department in which he reports the panel's conclusions:
If someone wants to send me a text version of this document, I'd appreciate it.
No wonder Narconon (Scientology) hates the Internet.
-- Dave Touretzky: "This reads like a high school science paper..." http://www.Stop-Narconon.org http://Narconon-Exposed.org
Subject: Re: Narconon rejected: Steve Heilig's letter to SFUSD
From: realpch <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 00:30:24 -0800
September 30, 200r
Trish Bascom School Health Department San Francisco Unified School District
RE: NARCONON DRUG EDUCATION
Dear Ms. Bascom:
Thank you for the opportunity to review the Narconon contract for student drug education in San Francisco public schools. In order to facilitate a solid review, I asked five other independent consultants with expertise in drug abuse, including four physician specialists certified in Addiction Medicine, to join me in this review. This letter thus reflects the consensus of a half dozen reviewers.
In summary, we concur with the SFUSD's current decision to terminate Narconon's provision of drug education in San Francisco's public schools. There is now a large body of literature and research on drug education, including a growing number of evaluation methodologies and evidence-based programs. Criteria for what makes for optimal drug education are solidifying. after a long period - over a generation - of mostly haphazard, non-evaluated approaches (see attachment by Rodney Skager, Professor of Education at UCLA and a leading expert in this field, for details and literature citations).
Our reviewers felt that the approach and information described in the Narconon contract and materials often exemplifies the outdated, non-evidence-based, and sometimes factually inaccurate approach which has not served students well for decades. We concurred that the current state of the literature in this field is not reflected in the documents, that the Narconon materials focus on some topics of lesser importance to the exclusion of best knowledge and practices, that some statements in the documents are misleading, and that factual errors in basic concepts such as physical and mental effects, addiction, and even spelling are unlikely to best serve educational goals. Finally, the valid supporting information and references taken from established sources such as NIDA and medical texts are sometimes used out of proper context. One of our reviewers opined that "This reads like a high school science paper pieced together from the Internet, and not very well at that"; another wrote that "my comments will be brief, as this proposal hardly merits detailed analysis." Another stated "As a parent, I would not want my child to participate in this kind of 'education'."
As you are probably aware, there are peer-reviewed, evidence-based options for drug education available, and in fact the California Healthy Kids web site lists some of these. More useful information is available from other sources.
If you wish to discuss this issue further, I would be happy to do so.
Steve Heilig, MPH San Francisco Medical Society