The distance from Clearwater, Florida, to Kathmandu, Nepal, is roughly 8,500 miles. Somewhere around the middle is Lecce, Italy.
Two are relatively small idyllic coastal communities; one is the teeming hub of a vast landlocked region. One is a mecca for tourism, not more than a century old; the other two date back through millennia.
In most ways, these areas could not be more different. But they all share at least a few things in common: Each has a serious and growing problem with drug abuse and addiction. And each has hope and thousands of success stories from individuals who have overcome their addiction through the Narconon program. For former addicts in these three disparate locations, Narconon means a new life.
Narconon is a network of drug rehabilitation centers on six continents employing a program based on the groundbreaking drug rehab technology of L. Ron Hubbard.
The secular, drug-free program first addresses the physical realities of addiction, through a complete regimen for smooth and safe withdrawal and a revolutionary program for detoxification. These are followed by a series of communication exercises and life skills courses through which individuals learn to solve problems and live without drugs.
Narconon’s approach is also unique in that it identifies and resolves the reasons that an individual turns to drugs in the first place. Addicts are considered to be individuals with an issue, rather than victims of a lifelong and irreversible genetic or mental disease.
Individuals make choices that start them on the path of addiction. While each one’s story is unique, there are similarities in the decisions that result in drug or alcohol addictions: Loneliness, lack of self-confidence, aimlessness and fear are some of the factors that lead them to choose drugs or alcohol. As the cravings for another high, another escape, increase, abuse leads to addiction.
Narconon, through its exact, standardized procedures—a precise technology for drug rehabilitation—addresses addiction from every angle.
Since its founding in 1966, tens of thousands of Narconon program graduates have gone on to lead drug-free, productive lives.
HAVEN FOR REHABILITATION
In Nepal, an estimated 46,000 people abuse hard drugs. Seventy percent of them are thought to be between 15 and 29 years old; nearly a fifth of them were introduced to hard drugs before the age of 15. Among the entire youth population, recent estimates also find that nearly a third of all students use drugs to some extent.
Basanta Raj Kunwar, former senior superintendent for the chief of police of Kathmandu, has seen the damage of drugs firsthand. “I tried when I was a police officer to combat drugs, but I could not,” he said. “And 80 percent of crime was drugs.”
Kunwar learned of the Narconon program, and with training and support, opened a first Narconon rehabilitation center in 2004. The results were immediate. Individual after individual who seemingly had lost control of their lives regained their sobriety, their joy of life, their relationships with friends and families, and found a purpose for living a clean and productive life.
Narconon Nepal soon occupied five buildings in the center of Kathmandu—including facilities for the outreach of its drug education to hundreds of Nepalese schools, police and military institutions, youth organizations and nonprofits. Then in 2013, Narconon Nepal opened its 80-bed residential rehabilitation facility outside Kathmandu, atop a Himalayan mountain dedicated as Hubbard’s Peak, after L. Ron Hubbard.
Narconon Nepal boasts impressive stats of more than 7,000 program completions since it first opened, with more than 2,000 of those after the Hubbard’s Peak facility opened in 2013. In addition, their drug education program has now reached more than 825,000 people nationwide.
“We see people who were at the door of death and give them new life, new purpose,” said Kunwar. “They are productive, stable. I believe it’s a great achievement for our organization.”
GIVING LIFE BACK
In 1992, a graduate of the program in one of Narconon’s Italian facilities saw the need for a center in Lecce—a southern city and province, located on the heel of the Italian boot along the Adriatic Sea. He began in a villa that could hold 20 students. Outgrowing that, the Narconon moved in 1995 to a spacious facility to serve the greater region of Salento.
Narconon Gabbiano, as it is known, is today the largest Narconon center in Italy, with a commensurately large staff of 49. In answer to questions about Narconon, they point to the thousands of former addicts freed from drugs.
Said one, “This goal I reached fills me with joy. It was a challenging journey, but it gave me back my life. I realized a goal, after so many failures.”
Success after success, Narconon is not only saving lives, but creating drug-free lives.
As one graduate recently said, echoing the message of tens of thousands of graduates, “The Narconon program saved my life. Without it, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have a wife, I wouldn’t have a family, I wouldn’t have two beautiful daughters. It has given me my life back.”
Along Florida’s picture-perfect Gulf Coast, the stunning Narconon Suncoast in Clearwater is fulfilling a dire community need. In a state where heroin-related deaths increased 124 percent in one year, Clearwater is the seat of Pinellas County, where someone succumbs to a narcotics-related issue every 32 hours.
The facility was dedicated in November 2015 and has already saved hundreds of lives. Before attending Suncoast, recalls one graduate, “I became a person that didn’t care to connect with anybody because I simply didn’t care,” he said. The program “really helped to clean all the drugs out of my system. It helped with the mental part of my addiction, and helped me bring out the past and helped me to not stay stuck in my head and think about drugs.”
Another recent graduate recalled she came to Narconon Suncoast after four days in a hospital due to an abscess in her left arm from shooting up. “I was beat down, depressed, anxious and tired,” she said. “Withdrawal was hard for me, but the staff helped me a lot to stay positive. My mind got clearer every day, and my energy finally came back. I learned how to be a responsible person. I am so utterly grateful that I got to experience and do this program.
“I am excited to finally live my life again, and now I can carry all that I learned here into the real world and begin the life that I know I deserve.”