Scientology's Narconon a failure? - Say it ain't so!

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NarCONon is Scientology!

Forward: For a systematic, detailed, professional exposure of Scientology's "Narconon" front group, visit the Narconon Exposed web site.

Scientology's Narconon a failure? - Say it ain't so!

http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/news/stories/20030504/localnews/239119.html

A family's struggle with drugs

Editor's note: The names of the family members in this story have been changed to protect their identities.

By David Benson
News Journal

LEXINGTON -- Heroin has devastated a village family in almost every way imaginable.

It took less than two years.

Sam and Janet sat in the living room of their large home, set well back from the road, and discussed how the drug snared their son Rick shortly before his 21st birthday, and their 17-year-old son Alan months later.

"The problem with heroin is we can't get past it," said Sam, 54. "The older boy keeps going back to it. We hope the youngest one can stay clean."

Rick had had trouble with drugs since he was 14, but never got in other trouble and held a responsible job with the family's business. But in 2001 his behavior started to change.

"He started to act strange and keep 'drug hours.' He started disappearing without explanation. It just didn't make sense,' said Janet, 51.

His parents agree Rick was a master at hiding things. They found out later he would climb out his bedroom window in the middle of the night and walk down the driveway to the road, where one of his friends picked him up for quick trips to Columbus to buy the drug.

The couple was puzzled by mysterious, repeated disappearances of large amounts of cash from their business.

"Everything was square with our customers, but then the amounts wouldn't add up after we got the money home," Sam said. "The last thing we suspected was that our kids were stealing it. If you can't leave your wallet in your own home, that's crazy."

Looking back now, Sam was reluctant to estimate how much was taken.

"I wouldn't even want to guess. Well above $20,000, at least," he said.

There were warnings from others, from some of Rick's friends. But like many parents, they had a hard time taking the warnings seriously.

"They kept saying, 'Your son's in trouble,' It finally sank in," Janet said.

Finally, just before his 21st birthday, Rick and some friends got into a car accident in Columbus. He called his parents for help, but then failed repeatedly to meet his father where he was supposed to. Finally, Sam caught up with him at a rest stop and brought him home.

"We sat down with him, and he said he wanted to quit heroin. He said he had been mainlining it for a while," Janet said.

Janet stayed by his side for seven days as Rick tried to quit cold turkey.

"It was terrible, just terrible. I thought he was going to die," she said.

In desperation, they took him to their family doctor. Rick got through it.

"We thought we were winning, but two weeks later he started again," she said. "He really has a hard time staying clean."

In August Rick took Alan to a party with him. The younger brother had been a straight-A high achiever all his life, but that night changed him.

"He'd never used any drugs before, but he went straight to heroin," Janet said.

New Year's Eve the brothers were stopped near Bellville for a headlight violation. They both ended up being charged with felony possession of heroin and are awaiting trial. Alan is clean, and looking and acting like his old self, Janet said. Rick is more problematic.

"It's hard to have confidence he won't end up dead or in prison. He just can't stay away from (heroin)," Janet said.

Rick has seen one of his friends die from an overdose. Rick himself overdosed in Columbus during one of the stretches he was banned from the family home because of drug use. He was technically dead, but was resuscitated at Mt. Carmel Hospital.

"I don't think he'll ever stop completely," Sam said. "If dying won't scare you into quitting, nothing will."

Heroin has taken its toll on the family in other ways. They built up their business over many years, made good money and looked forward to retiring soon. But in addition to the money stolen by their kids, they lost some customers who suspected the sons might be robbing them, too.

In addition, various treatment programs -- all of which failed -- have cost them plenty. Sam estimates $78,000 in all, including a $30,000 program in Oklahoma that turned out to be based on Scientology.

And it might end a 24-year marriage because of the strain of trying to deal with the addiction.

"We had a good marriage, and this almost ruined it. It might still," Sam said.

Janet said she and her husband were willing to talk about their experience because heroin use is widespread here, but few realize it.

"It's a pronounced problem. We know lots of kids who've tried it. They'll admit it if someone asks," she said. "But parents don't know what their children are doing. They're in denial."

dbenson@nncogannett.com

(419) 521-7272

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