David Lee the Founder of Intervention Services and Technologies, Inc.
Letting the truth flow.
Thank you David.

Special thanks to Reaching For The Tipping Point

source for post Narconon, Scientology and Intervention Services and Technologies
I believe it is necessary to help spread the articles by David Lee. He is the Founder of Intervention Services and Technologies, Inc. and has been writing on reaching4.info. His words are very enlightening and thought provoking. David’s words have already help many get out and speak out.
David, I would like to truly thank you from the bottom of my heart. Keep that river of truth flowing.

David Lee of Intervention Services and Technologies, Inc.

Sure, I’ll try to answer it the best I can.

In the beginning, all we knew was Narconon and their referral payment process.  I’ve learned since that marketing agreements are actually pretty common in the industry and not unique to Narconon.  However, we here really stopping “liking” referring to Narconon, initially for business reasons.  Referring to Narconon had about a 50% chance of someone encountering black PR and then not going.  So it was becoming more and more risky to refer to them.  However, the die-hard Narconon-only and Scientologists generally will only refer to Narconon.  There used to be a lot of independent referral agents working for Narconon with their own sites.  The cost of internet has changed a lot of it. It’s pretty hard to create a site and generate leads.  The majority of “independent” agents out there now are actually just answering phones for a fake referral site ran and operated by Narconon.

Where does Narconon compare?

Generally they offer a standard 10% fee.  A lot of people disagree with marketing agreements.  I do also if you don’t give multiple options.  How is a referral fee “justified”?  Well, I’ll explain why they exist.  The internet.  Essentially for most standard treatment facilities, it “costs” them anywhere from $20-$50 per call.  And generally it takes anywhere from 50 to 100 calls to close a client.  Which means that, at the low end, it costs that treatment center a minimum of $1000-$5000 just in marketing alone.  A $3000 referral fee fits in right about at the amount they are paying anyways. My biggest issue with Narconon in terms of referrals is that they create “fake” referral sites, only refer to themselves, change the names of their agencies and even staff.  It got so strange over here when we would get an intervention lead from let’s say “Joe from Narconon”.  He would say “I talked with the family, but I was on the referral line and said my name was Bob.  I’ve referred it to Jill at Narconon (at the desk next to his).  The family hasn’t committed to Narconon, so make sure that they don’t know I’m Joe and that I’m really Bob.  Please make sure this family wants Narconon…but don’t mention the word Narconon so they don’t go on the internet.”  What an absolute nightmare and ethical mess.

FSM ScamHowever in regards to referrals on our end, as an intervention company we had to change the way we did things.  Essentially, in order to become board registered you can not, as an interventionist, accept payment from a treatment center for referring an intervention client.  Which makes sense because you are entering into a sacred trust with a family.  To take advantage of that trust and gain financial reward for pushing their loved one into a treatment center you get “paid” to work for creates a pretty big problem.  So, we can no longer (and I agree) accept payments from a treatment center on any intervention that we do.

However, we do also have a referral company, Sober Solutions.  We try to keep the lines pretty separate, and if a referral ends up being an intervention we can’t then accept a referral fee.  A true referral company and information resource, should try and give multiple options.  Most narconon independent or “fake” referral sites only refer to one option…Narconon.

In terms of vetting the treatment centers, we now email out a list of about 100 questions and that is just the first step.  This includes such things as “how many clinicians on staff?”, “dual diagnosis”, “psychiatrists”, etc.  This is usually followed by a tour of the facility.  Generally most legitimate treatment facilities are willing to fly us out on their cost and tour, meet their clinicians, go over their program.  It takes about 3 months before we consider referring.

How do we avoid treatment centers with a Narconon style or lack of integrity?  Word of mouth goes pretty far and many treatment centers have been around for years.  We actually have been fortunate to have some of the leading intervention people and companies in the 12-step world reach out to us and help us to get out of Narconon.  The were pretty blunt about our relationships with Narconon and how they felt about it.  They really did help us to reevaluate how we do business and understand that we could ultimately raise the bar in our standards and practices.  Before then, I was an arrogant Narconon grad who assumed I knew more than everyone about interventions.  I’m very grateful to have the ability to actually listen to the advice of others who are more knowledgeable than I.  The 12-step or clinical world does a much better job of policing it’s own than Narconon ever really did.  When we entered their world, they showed up.

Narconon is a unique entity and I hope to explain why.  Generally speaking there are different levels of treatment.  Here’s some basics:

1) Sober Living house: No rules other than basic sobriety requirements.  No program or counseling.  Usually managed by someone with a few years sober minimum.  $100-$150/wk
2) Halfway House:  Same as above, except they may have a limited amount of actual program and recovery structure attached to it.  This is a social model setting, in other words the staff is usually former clients who have, usually, a minimum of 6 months to a year sober who then work there.  Clients can work, have freedom, etc.  No true counselors.  A basic level of training for staff on how to facilitate the program and treat the clients.  $100-$150/wk
3) Recovery Home:  A much more structured Halfway house.  Usually clients are “locked in” with the exception of day trips or outside AA meetings.  The staff here might have one or two certified counselors, but you will probably not find any clinicians.  Minimum sobriety requirements are generally 2 years.  If state funded, could be a free program, however if private, anywhere from $2000-$4000/month.
4) Florida Model Treatment Center:  Essentially a combination of a halfway-house/recovery home where the clients live one place but then are transported to an outside Outpatient program where they attend counseling by clinicians.  3 years minimum sobriety for staff.  $8000-$30000/month
5) Licensed residential treatment center:  Inpatient setting.  An assessment must be done to determine the level of care.  Clinicians and therapists on staff.  5 years minimum sobriety requirements for staff: $15000-$30000
6) Dual Diagnosis capable center:  Same as 5) but usually has a higher level of care, psychiatrists on staff.  Fully qualified to handle mental illness and substance abuse. $30000-$60000/month.  Average sobriety time is probably 8-30 years for staff.

Granted there are many variations in the above, but I just am going to try to make a point.  If we only look at Sobriety Requirements then where, in my list above does Narconon fall in terms of staff?   Barely at the same level of a halfway house, if that.  Interesting.  Narconon staff members have minimal to no sobriety requirements and are often hired fresh off the program (2 months to 6 months sober), or fresh off a retread (2 weeks to 2 months sober). Narconon staff members are generally not trained in any standard clinical practices, but instead are taught things like the “withdraw specialist hat”, “Course Supervisor Hat” or the “Sauna IC hat”.  In other words, in my opinion, based upon the above criteria for staffing, Narconon is closer in style to a recovery home or halfway house than to the more clinical programs.  You find much of the same chaos and drama at some halfway houses as you do at a Narconon…but narconon brings on greater risk to the client in assuming a higher level of care than a halfway house.  In addition, the minimum sobriety standards don’t exist at Narconon, but do at other programs.  However, notice the price of Narconon.  It is comparable to a full treatment center and often being promoted as “the equivalent in standards to a high end program…just cheaper and longer”.  I completely disagree with this assessment.  Granted they would argue that they are long-term vs. 28 days.  But that’s like comparing a 28 day stay at Hazelden to a six month stay in a halfway house and saying the halfway house is a better and more qualified option because of it’s length and price.  In addition, the assessments that we did at Narconon didn’t, to me, really determine the program the client would receive.  In other words, if a client had major physical and sexual abuse in their history…they were given the same “program” as someone who wasn’t.  If a client had an eating disorder…same program.  Alcoholic vs Heroin addict?  Same program.  I have learned that in the world of addiction and recovery there are many disorders, trauma, addictions, etc. that each must be dealt with uniquely.  This doesn’t seem to occur at Narconon.  If you throw in underlying psychiatric issues, which Narconon doesn’t seem to accept like the rest of the clinical world…oh boy.  At most legitimate facilities, an assessment of needs is done on each client in terms of a standard Bio-psychosocial evaluation.  This determines if there are external factors, unique substance abuse issues, medical issues, social factors, psychiatric factors…each of which must be addressed differently as the client progresses.  In my experience, none of this happens at a Narconon.

Part of the problem with Narconon, in my opinion, setting aside the lack of clinical training in counseling or other things is the low sobriety that exists at the staff level.  There is a reason why most legitimate centers have minimum sobriety requirements.  In other words, when you are newly sober you are still emotionally underdeveloped, you don’t tend to take accountability, you have a low responsibility level, you shift the blame, are reactive and impulsive still, you aren’t as honest as you could be, and you have high relapse potential.  Instead of doing what’s right today so you have a great life a year from now, you still tend to do what “feels good” today regardless of the outcomes.  Imagine a culture where most staff were at this level.  What would happen?  Look at Narconon and their problems.  Rampant drug use, sex with clients, deaths of clients.  Most of these problems, I believe, are due to a combination of lack of professional and clinical training coupled with minimal sobriety.  At Narconon we were really taught that psychiatry, psychology, and traditional programs may occasionally do some good but were inherently wrong.  I honestly believed, with about 2 weeks sober and a “basic staff hat” training under my belt that I was more qualified than anyone with a doctorate in psychology.  You will find this attitude almost exclusively and at any Narconon.  Imagine the arrogance we had.

Well, hopefully I’ve answered some of your questions.  I’ll try to be as open as I can about anything.  I realize that I am in a unique position.  I’ve probably interacted with, had relationships with and visited with almost every Narconon referral source, Reg, FSM and Narconon in North America.  Although not an expert, I may be able to shed light on some things, should you ask.

I have to be pretty careful about naming specific individuals and such.  I’m not really prepared for any onslaught of lawsuits.  We’ll see how the weeks and months turn out though.

And to everyone here and who has reached out to me privately, I want to personally express my overwhelming gratitude on the level of support that I’ve gotten.  I was pretty nervous about stepping out, but felt I had to.  It’s pretty nice to be on this side.

David Lee
Intervention Services and Technologies, Inc.

If you feel moved by David’s words please leave a comment.

  1. magnificent post, very informative. I ponder why the
    other experts of this sector don’t understand this. You must proceed your writing. I’m sure, you have a great readers’ base already!

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