David Love: Man on a mission

David Love: Man on a mission (Journal de Montréal, March 3, 2012)


A man on a mission

Former addict devotes his life to shutting down a detoxification center linked to Scientology

by Émilie Dubreuil March 3, 2012

Photo caption

David Love (right) chats with Shadow, a member of Anonymous, a group that fights the Church of Scientology. They went to Parliament in Ottawa to meet with Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette to ask for support. The senator has since contacted the authorities in Quebec.

David Love arrived in Quebec in 2008. Addicted to cocaine and medications, he no longer had any choice: either undergo detoxification or watch his life fall apart. So he entered Narconon Trois-Rivières, a supposedly hyper-efficient detox center. A year later, he came out weaned from his addiction, but in a state of post-traumatic shock. For the past three years, he has been making every effort to ask the authorities to shut down the center.
“All I do,” says 60-year-old David Love, “is dedicate myself to preventing others from becoming victims of this scam. I help those who leave, I write complaints, I meet with politicians. Once I’ve achieved my goal, I’ll go back home to British Columbia.”

Narconon Trois-Rivières advertises a success rate well above the average, nearly 80%. The detoxification center’s clientele consists almost exclusively of English Canadians and Americans.

Love received treatment along with about sixty other such clients. After completing the program, he was hired as an employee. Many of those who work at the center have followed a similar path from being patients to becoming intervention workers.
Narconon has no specialists with degrees in the treatment of drug addiction in the traditional sense. Psychologists and doctors are also absent, and this is not the smallest peculiarity of this program, which costs about $30,000.

The Narconon Trois-Rivières website summarizes the treatment program as “complete and natural, with no substitution of drugs and no medication. Its immense success is due to a unique combination of benefits from biophysical detoxification followed by a precise sequence of extensive educational gains through life improvement courses.”

Yelling at an ashtray

Former patients report that, at the beginning of treatment, they had to yell at an ashtray; this is the control exercise. Another exercise involves staring at a wall for hours or looking without blinking at another patient. Some patients have to eliminate their relationships with relatives and friends that the intervention workers consider harmful. After this first phase, patients are allowed to take the “purification rundown”, which consists of spending five to six hours a day in a sauna for more than three weeks.

A portrait of L. Ron Hubbard, who died in 1986, towers over the entrance hall at Narconon Trois-Rivières. Hubbard was the founder of the Church of Scientology and he was basically a science fiction writer.

The treatment at Narconon Trois-Rivières is based on Hubbard’s writings. Narconon is a trademark owned by another legal entity: ABLE, whose mission is, according to its website, “to rid the world of its most devastating social ills — drugs, crime, and illiteracy using the methodologies developed by L. Ron Hubbard.”

According to Hubbard, drugs accumulate over time in the fatty tissues of the body. This is a half-truth: some drugs only reside temporarily in fatty tissues. In any case, expelling drugs from the body, according to Hubbard, requires sweating, which explains the sauna. To promote sweating, patients are instructed to ingest vegetable oil and a vitamin called niacin in very high doses, up to 5,000 milligrams per day. The amount recommended by Health Canada is 500 mg daily.

Neither Narconon nor the Church of Scientology of Montreal returned Le Journal de Montréal‘s calls.



“They used me”

by Émilie Dubreuil March 3, 2012

Joshua Dann came out of Narconon Trois-Rivières with a nervous breakdown. The Ontario man has also chosen to stay in Quebec to speak out about his misadventure.
Joshua Dann is 37 years old. In July 2009, his life was in tatters. Saddled with a drug addiction and suffering from hepatitis C, the Ontario man decided to turn things around. After a few clicks on the Internet, he stumbled upon the Addiction Enders Canada website, which referred him to a toll-free number.

Over the phone, an agent suggested a treatment program whose success rate is higher than any other: 76%. Narconon.

Joshua’s father agreed to pay the price charged at that time, $23,000, and Joshua soon found himself in a center that immediately appeared strange to him. “I had absolutely no idea that this was an organization connected with Scientology. I understood this much later.

“The first week is for withdrawal. Supposedly to help you, the intervention workers practice what they call ‘touch assists’. They touch you with their fingertip all over you to make you feel your body. I found it pretty bizarre.”

Mr. Dann smiles ironically when he talks about the control exercise. “You have to look at an object, for example an ashtray, and you yell at it: ‘Stand up!'”

“Already, after one week, I found it completely ridiculous, but I couldn’t leave. Narconon had called my parents to tell them that, if I phoned to complain, it was because I was resisting treatment. And since they had spent nearly $25,000, I didn’t want to disappoint them.


“When I finished my withdrawal, Narconon sent me to a doctor in the Montreal area. I wasn’t feeling well because they made me take tons of vitamins, what they call ‘bombs’. Dr. Labonté told me that I couldn’t start the second stage of treatment, which involves spending several hours a day in a sauna. So they made me work in the kitchen.”

A few weeks later, the center’s employees, who had not been paid for some time, all quit together. As a result, Mr. Dann had to operate the kitchen without being paid.

The former patient has also complained to the Quebec Human Rights Commission, which has opened an investigation. “I went there to make my life better. They used me and did even more damage to me. When I got out of there, I was in a deep depression.”

  • Few addicts are aware of the relationship between Scientology and the Narconon center when they begin the Narconon program in Trois-Rivières, or of the fact that the program they are following is actually almost identical for persons who join the Church of Scientology.
  • Narconon, a non-profit organization, has about a hundred branches worldwide, but only one in Canada.



“I was very vulnerable” – Iola Rawnsley

by Émilie Dubreuil March 3, 2012

Iola Rawnsley, 32, a native of British Columbia, arrived at Narconon Trois-Rivières in October 2009 for treatment of her drug addiction. Earlier this month, she filed a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission against Narconon.

Iola chose Narconon because a distant acquaintance of her family who knew she had a serious addiction to heroin contacted her through Facebook and boasted about the Narconon miracle cure. “I was very vulnerable at the time and I accepted. I understood later that this recruiter was getting a 10% commission for the sale.”

“I suffer from a severe anxiety disorder, so my doctor in British Columbia prescribed anti-anxiety drugs for me. As soon as I arrived at Narconon, they took away my medication. ”

Something wasn’t right

Scientologists do not believe in psychiatry and are vehemently opposed to modern psychiatric medication, which they fight in various ways.

“They took me to see a doctor in Montreal and I thought that something wasn’t right.

Aren’t there enough doctors in Trois-Rivières? When I arrived at his office, I understood. There were Scientology posters on the walls. I felt trapped. I couldn’t leave because the Narconon people told my parents that, if I left, I couldn’t see my children.”
Iola Rawnsley suffered a relapse after leaving Narconon.



Numerous complaints

by Émilie Dubreuil March 3, 2012

After completing his treatment, David Love was hired as an employee at Narconon. His job: to compile statistics on the treatment program’s success rate.

He soon realized that the numbers would be doctored. He then searched the Internet for information about Narconon and contacted Info-Cult, which helped him get out in November 2009. Love is also supported by Anonymous, a group that openly fights the Church of Scientology around the world.

  • Love first filed a complaint with Quebec Labour Standards Commission regarding the salary he was paid: $2.50 an hour. As a result, he received compensation from Narconon.
  • In October 2010, he complained to the College of Physicians against Dr. Pierre Labonté. Though Narconon is located in Trois-Rivières, its official doctor was based in the Montreal region. In July 2011, the College of Physicians severely reprimanded Dr. Pierre Labonté for a breach of professional ethics. He was prohibited from working again with Narconon.
  • In October 2010, Love filed a complaint with the Quebec Health and Social Services Agency. The Commissioner’s report recommended that the certification committee clearly establish whether the treatment is religious. In addition, the Commissioner noted that the massive ingestion of niacin raises serious questions. He cited a statement from the Public Health Institute of Quebec about the toxicity of the vitamin.
  • Last August, Love sent another complaint to the College of Physicians regarding the illegal practice of medicine as well as a complaint to the Quebec Human Rights Commission concerning the exploitation of persons with disabilities. An investigation is in progress.
  • In early 2012, the Canada Revenue Agency also received a complaint, because the detoxification center is registered on the list of charities in Canada in the category of “purposes that benefit the community”. The agency has informed Mr. Love that his complaint had been directed to the appropriate persons.




by Émilie Dubreuil March 3, 2012

  • According to Narconon’s blog, evaluators from the Accreditation Council of Quebec recently spent time at Narconon and interviewed patients and staff. Their report will determine whether or not Narconon obtains a permit from the Ministry of Health and Social Services, which has established a certification process for the various treatment programs offered in Quebec.
  • According to the Health and Social Services Agency for the Mauricie region, the Accreditation Council’s report will be sent to a committee of experts who will recommend to the Agency whether or not to grant certification to Narconon. This process could take weeks or even months.
  • A trial against a Narconon branch in the state of Georgia is expected to begin soon in the United States. A young man reportedly died of an overdose there.
  • In early February, Danish authorities temporarily shut down a Narconon center whose facilities were ruled inadequate.
  • For 2010, Narconon Trois-Rivières reported total revenues of of $2,526,630 from the sale of goods and services (excluding revenues from government sources).
  • For 2010, Narconon Trois-Rivières reported that 109 persons worked full time for the organization at a cost of $414,000 in salaries.
  • Scientology was created in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and it currently claims to have 12 million followers in 150 countries.
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2 Responses to David Love: Man on a mission

  1. jean tonsaker says:

    very good info i know someone personaly that went to the facility every word printed here is 100% correct

  2. Quel genre de personne es-tu réellement, sans critiquer qui que ce soit,
    au jour d’aujourd’hui il est impossible d’être d’accord
    avec les artistes indépendants (en prenant exemple sur le marché Allemand), et
    tu sais bien que tu nies la réalité : lees stagiaires exploités ont à peine de quoi faire un plein d’essence !

    Il ne faut pas voir ça autrement, surtout en regardant de
    près les imbéciles qui voient midi à leur porte quand il faut réfléchir
    5 minutes ! Y’a vraiment ddes gens qui n’ont
    plus aucune conviction !

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