Narconon History

The first Narconon program was set up in Arizona State Penitentiary by a man named William “Willie” Benitez. Willie was sent to prison for habitual criminality as a result of many years of theft and burglary convictions. He was caught in the cycle of addiction and stole to get money to support his heroin and other opiate addictions.

While in prison, Willie read the book Fundamentals of Thought written by American author L. Ron Hubbard. Willie then began a correspondence with Mr. Hubbard. This fueled Willie to set up a drug rehabilitation program inside the prison; Mr. Hubbard made his innovative discoveries on drug and alcohol rehabilitation accessible to ensure that the program developed accordingly. Willie marked on his calendar August 18th.  This would be the day that he approached the prison officials to ask permission about setting up the drug rehabilitation program.

The officials agreed and with their help the first Narconon program was set up on August 19, 1966. The name Narconon was chosen because Narconon means NARCOtics-NONe.

Mr. Benitez developed the program to full capacity and was released from prison in October 1967. He then moved to California to expand the Narconon organization and make it available to any person who was in need of drug or alcohol addiction treatment. Mr. Hubbard and his organizations supported the efforts, which resulted in worldwide expansion.

Today the Narconon program has spread from that one program in Arizona State Prison to include community programs in many states and countries. There are organizations in Denmark, Italy, Holland, Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Columbia, Switzerland, New Zealand, South Africa, Ghana, the United Kingdom, Australia, Indonesia, Argentina, and Brazil.

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