Amazon will be donating to the UK branch of a charity linked to the Church of Scientology.
Narconon Drug Education UK has announced that the e-commerce giant will give it 0.5 percent of the net purchase price from eligible purchases through the AmazonSmile service.
Narcocon runs drug and alcohol rehabilitation, prevention and education programmes such as ‘The Truth About Drugs’ lectures that tale place in schools to spread the word on the dangers of drugs. The group reached an estimated 27,000 individuals in the UK, including students, in 2019 and another 2,000 last month.
The detox programme proved highly controversial: one former patient described therapy sessions where patients were “paired with a partner and are made to stare at each other for several hours without moving or speaking” and saunas with increasingly larger doses of nicotinic acid, a form of vitamin B.
Dozens of former patients have sued Narconon on allegations of being injured or abused at their facilities over the decades. There have also been several deaths under Narcocon’s care in the United States in the past 12 years, including four at a signature drug treatment facility in Oklahoma between 2009 and 2012.
Despite this, Narcocon has claimed success rates of 70 to 90 percent, but critics say there is no scientific research to back its claims.
“Though I can’t see the school teaching material on the web – based on the info re: Narconon I suspect that it won’t be truly scientifically or evidence-based,” Professor David Nutt, the UK government’s former chief drug adviser, told The Guardian.
“Sadly we have known for years that Scientology is the main provider of ‘teaching’ materials on addiction to schools, as the UK government doesn’t fund any alternative sources.”
Narconon is operated by the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE), which in turn is owned by the Church of Scientology. The latter is a creation of science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard; its doctrine states that mankind is haunted by alien soul remnants stacked in volcanoes 75 million years ago by a galactic overlord called Xenu.
The Church of Scientology has a tax-exempt status in the US and is considered a religious institution in the UK, but is not officially recognised in many countries including France and Germany, and is banned in Russia.
The Church of Scientology has been accused in the past of disseminating its philosophy through a number of front groups including Narconon.
There have been reports that Scientologists were covertly introducing British pupils to their teachings through the Narcocon programme, an allegation they deny.