NBC's Rock Center investigates Oklahoma drug rehab Narconon amid questions of safety, Scientology

In July, 2News Reporter Sara Goldenberg shed light on Oklahoma's Narconon Arrowhead, a non-medical drug rehabilitation facility in Canadian, Okla.

The program, which has been closely tied to L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, has seen four patients die while under facility care.

At the time of our initial story, three patients had died on Narconon Arrowhead grounds in seven months.

On Thursday, NBC's Rock Center aired the results of an investigation into the rehab facility for the first time.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news , world news , and news about the economy

Below is the 2News original story from July 23.

CANADIAN, Okla. -- A drug rehab facility in Pittsburg County is coming under scrutiny after authorities say three of its patients died there in the past seven months.

On Thursday, 20-year-old Stacy Murphy, of Owasso, died after just six weeks at Narconon Arrowhead .

Murphy's father, Robert Murphy, says his daughter got hooked on painkillers and sought help at the drug and rehab facility.

"There's no way Stacy should have died," said Murphy. "This should not have happened."

The cold-turkey program touts a more than 70-percent success rate and has been linked to Scientology.

Murphy says he found out Stacy overdosed and died on Friday morning. He says he was told by workers Stacy left the facility for a little while and returned. When she got back, she tested positive for opiates. Murphy says officials left Stacy in a room where she later died.

"She did not have 24-hour staff, she did not have a physician, she did not have a Narcon shot. Her parents were not called. Nothing was done to save my daughter's life," said Murphy.

Murphy says he didn't know about the other deaths until weeks after his daughter's enrollment.

Murphy hopes Narconon Arrowhead is held accountable.

"There needs to be something done about this place," he said. "It's not safe. Too many people have died there."

Gary Smith, chief executive officer of Narconon of Oklahoma, Inc., released a statement to 2News:

"It is always deeply saddening when drug addiction takes a life or destroys a family. It hurts when a young person passes away before their time. For the family the pain of losing a loved one to addiction is unimaginable and our deepest sympathy goes out to those families. Our prayers are with them. For those who have committed their lives to saving people from drug and alcohol addiction the loss of not being able to help a person overcome addiction takes an emotional toll on us as well. It is a sad day for everyone when something as unfortunate and devastating as this occurs.

In Narconon's more than 20 years of operation there has been 3 deaths at the Narconon facility and those have been within the last 12 months. The rampant abuse of prescription medications and drugs like Spice, Bath salts and host of other designer drugs has presented new and greater challenges in care-giving for treatment providers throughout the state.

There are very precise local and state guidelines established with law enforcement and state agencies that come into play if and when there are any critical incidents concerning a person in our, or any other healthcare provider's, care. Narconon Arrowhead is cooperating fully with these agencies."

-Gary W. Smith, CEO Narconon of Oklahoma, Inc.

The Pittsburg County Sheriff's Office is awaiting Stacy Murphy's toxicology report and the reports for the facility's other two deaths. The OSBI is also involved in the investigation.

Print this article Back to Top