NDAP Evaluation AppendixAppendix for the Evaluation of the Narconon Drug Abuse Prevention Program (NDAP), prepared for the California Department of Education by the California Healthy Kids Resource Center, January 2005.
The California Healthy Kids Resource Center is administered for the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). This report does not necessarily reflect the position or policies of the CDE or the CDPH. Questions about this report can be sent to:
Deborah Wood, Ph.D., Executive
California Healthy Kids Resource Center
313 W. Winton Ave., Hayward, CA 94544
Narconon Drug Abuse Prevention Program (NDAP) Objectives and Content Overview for Elementary, Middle, and High School Presentations
- Students will understand some of the short-term and long-term physical, mental and emotional effects of drug use and abuse, thereby gaining personal understanding and reasons to say no to drugs. (Italics and underline in original.)
- Students will gain confidence in their own ability to resist forces such as peer pressure or media advertisement that might otherwise influence them toward drug abuse.
- Students will gain confidence in their ability to help peers refrain from drug abuse.
- Students will be more able to recognize the triggers that lead some young people to illicit drug use and will have enhanced refusal skills.
0.1 Introduce self
- 0.2 Give background
- 0.3 Present goals of the presentation
- 0.4 Get students agreement on the objectives of the presentation (middle & high school only)
- 0.5 Establish ground rules
- What is a drug?
1.1 Definition of "drug"
- 1.2 Drugs have side effects
- 1.3 Some drugs have benefits, but even medically prescribed drugs may have dangers
- 1.4 Definition of "drug abuse"
- 1.5 Characteristics and effects of specific drugs (middle
& high school only)
- Physical Effects of Drugs in the Body
2.1 Drug effects
- 2.2 Drug distribution
- 2.3 Long-term consequences of drug abuse
- Mental Effects
3.1 Memory and associated knowledge
- 3.2 Impact of drug abuse on memory
- 3.3 Impact of hallucinogens on memory and perceptions (middle
and high school only)
- Drug Addiction
4.1 Definition of addiction
- 4.2 Drug use causes nutrient depletion and negative symptoms
- 4.3 Imbalances and deficiencies lead to discomfort and relapse
- 4.4 Definition of tolerance
- 4.5 Addiction a continual process of decline
- Alcohol and the Media
5.1 Alcohol advertising
- 5.2 Advertising affects attitudes toward alcohol consumption
- 5.3 Alcohol representations in media
- 5.4 Viewing media from an objective viewpoint
- Tobacco and Nicotine
6.1 Physical impact of nicotine
- 6.2 Long-term unhealthful effects
- 6.3 Tobacco advertising
- 6.4 Addiction to nicotine
- Drugs and Emotions
7.1 Range of emotions
- 7.2 Emotional states predisposing drug use
- 7.3 Drug use affects emotions
- 7.4 Better to change behavior/attitude to solve an emotional
- Achieving Goals in Life
8.1 Setting and working toward a goal reduces drug use
- 8.2 Achieving goals is like making "goals" in a game
- 8.3 Working toward life goals strengthens a person's ability to say no to drugs
Note: Unless otherwise noted, the objectives and content are the same for all grade levels.
Materials Reviewed and Requested for Evaluation
|Materials Received||Materials Reviewed by Outside Reviewers||Materials Reviewed by CHKRC Staff||Notes|
Eight Basic Facts about the Narconon Drug Rehabilitation Program
This document deals with the rehabilitation program, not the prevention program.
On Overview of the Narconon Drug Rehabilitation Program (Narconon Overview , pp. 4-13)
This document deals with the rehabilitation program, not the prevention program.
Papers and Studies:
Background papers on detoxification reviewed by medical/scientific reviewers and CHKRC staff.
Theoretical Basis of Narconon Drug Prevention Program
Narconon Drug Education Program (Narconon Overview, pp. 78-83)
This document links NDAP to the California Health Framework.
Narconon Drug Abuse Prevention Specialist Manual
Available for teachers to use after school presentations
Marijuana, The Myth, video for teenagers
Video reportedly not used by Narconon presenters. However, made available by Narconon network to schools for presentation to middle and high school students.
The Truth About Drugs video
Two brief video clips of portions of Narconon live talks
The Truth About Kids and Drugs video
Video for unspecified audience, appears to target adults
Ten Things Your Friends May not Know About Drugs, student booklet
Student booklet not usually distributed at or after Narconon presentations, but made available to schools for distribution to students.
Datasheet on Presentation Dosage
Documentation of Narconon presentations to New England area schools
Training DVD of Two Narconon Video Properties
Copies of two Narconon videos on DVD: Marijuana the Myth (video for teenagers) and The Truth About Kids and Drugs (unspecified audience, appears to target adults). No training information was found.
Narconon promotional materials
* Outside reviewers reviewed a sampling of teacher letters and student survey responses
Materials made available to schools that were requested but not provided for review:
Lesson plans, presentation scripts and/or videotapes of classroom presentations, including those offered on the Narconon Web site:
The Narconon presentations are divided into several subjects. They are geared to the appropriate age groups and focus on the real life situations that often lead to drug use.
- The physical effects of drugs on the body
- How drugs affect the mind
- Marijuana-The myth
- The Truth About Ecstasy
- The Truth About Methamphetamines
- Drugs and Alcohol; How the media affects young people
- Tobacco, smoking and your health
- LSD - One of today's most dangerous drugs
- Establishing and achieving goals in life—how this eliminates the desire
- Peer pressure and resisting drug use
- Addiction—how it starts and what keeps a person addicted
- How emotions play a role in drug use
Materials available from Narconon:
- Narconon Drug Education presentations are now available on video.
(Note: some of these presentations may be the same as those in the NDAP presentation manual.)
- Kids Helping Kids, Narconon Peer Leadership Training Program, "a series of exercises and lessons in communication and listening
skills, interpersonal relationships and how to relay information
about alcohol and other drugs."
(Note: Narconon promotional video describes the Peer Leader Training Program as "two-day training seminars in which older students learn key information and the basic methods developed by Mr. Hubbard to teach younger students the dangers of drugs through Narconon." The video further reports that Narconon has trained 3,000 peer leaders, and 25,000 students have "received the message' through the Peer Leader program." The goals of the Peer Leader program are "to spread the message beyond the classroom." (2004, ABLE).
- Educator Training Workshops, are "designed to impart the key methods used in the Narconon program that educators can utilize in the classroom with their students."
- The Truth About Drugs: What Is It? Video for children and handbook.
Videotapes of live, complete Narconon classroom presentations to California students.
Selecting, screening and training of presenters including training to ensure fidelity of implementation and standardization of the presentations across presenters. (Note: Limited information provided, including presenter application form, and statement describing training in footnote of this report.)
Calendar or schedule of presentations that will provide information on the cycling of presentations (i.e., how Narconon makes NDAP not a one-time experience), duration and dosage. (Note: Only New England data provided.)
Examples of Inaccurate and Misleading Information in NDAP Presentations and Other Instructional Materials Made Available to Schools
Examples of Inaccurate Information
- "Many drugs cause the body to use certain nutrients
at an abnormally high rate. Once the drug has worn off, the
body is somewhat depleted of nutrients, with associated negative
symptoms. Continuing drug use further depletes body stores of
vitamins, minerals and precursors to various cellular components
including neurotransmitters." (Elementary, middle,
and high school presentation scripts, 4.2) "Marijuana
burns up calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, and about 15 other nutrients
that are attacked almost instantly." (Marijuana the
Myth, student video). Most drugs, including marijuana, do not
burn up vitamins.
- "Smoking marijuana burns up nutrients at such a fast
rate that it causes the munchies." (Marijuana the
Myth, student video). Burning up nutrients is not the mechanism
that causes "the munchies."
- "Vitamins are burnt up by drugs (sic). . . . Like
other drugs, alcohol uses up vitamins in your body so you feel
tired or sick after drinking it. This is what causes a 'hangover.'
If alcohol uses too many vitamins, a person's body can start
shaking and sweating. . . . Anytime you take drugs, they burn
up some of your body's vitamins. If you take enough drugs, later
you may feel bad or get sick. What happens if you keep taking
drugs to feel better, but each time the drugs burn up your vitamins?
The problem gets WORSE." (Student booklet). Most drugs
do not "burn up" vitamins, and vitamin depletion is
not the primary source of damage or mechanisms of tolerance
- "Chemicals (in marijuana smoke) can stay in the body
for months or even years. Also marijuana contains THC, a "neurotoxin"
(a poison that damages nerves.) When someone smokes pot, it
makes two things happen: 1) There's almost an immediate burnup
of vitamins and minerals in the body. 2) The nervous system
changes and the nerves in the body go numb. Each time someone
gets "high", they don't feel quite as high as they
did before and each time they feel a little worse afterwards.
Eventually, pot smokers don't want the drug . . . they NEED
the drug to get rid of the unwanted conditions the drugs created
in their bodies, such as pain and discomfort from vitamin deficiencies."
(Student booklet). THC is not a neurotoxin; smoking marijuana
does not burn up vitamins and minerals; many marijuana smokers
do not become addicted; and desire for marijuana does not result
from vitamin deficiencies resulting from burned-up nutrients.
Marijuana chemicals staying in the body for years is speculative.
Moreover, the issue of THC remaining in fat stores beyond 30
days does not have widely accepted evidence of clinical significance.
- "Drugs can stay in the body for a long time after
you take them. Many drugs get stored in fat . . . later when
the person is working, or exercising at the gym, or hiking,
the fat burns up and a tiny amount of the drug can go back into
the vein. This can make a person feel some of the effects of
the drug again. This person also gets a tiny "taste"
of that drug again. . . . so he may still want drugs even years
after he's stopped taking drugs." (Student Booklet).
Not all drugs are stored in adipose (fat) tissue for a long
time, and many are metabolized quickly, not having recurring
effect. There is no widely-accepted evidence that burning fat
releases enough drug to cause relapse.
- "So does THC dissolve easily in blood? ("No.") Right. But right next to the blood is fat, and THC melts easily into fat. So where do you think the THC is going to go? ('Into the fat.')" (Elementary, middle, and high school presentation scripts, 2.2) "Because fat is so close to veins and blood that THC instantly mixes with fat and goes into the fat." (Marijuana the Myth, student video) Inaccurate statement implying because fat is "right next" to blood that THC melts directly into fat. Metabolism of THC is more complex.
Examples of Misleading Information
- "So if a person smokes weed on Friday, is he clean
on Monday? . . . THC can circulate in the body for weeks after
the last joint. . . . Other drugs can also leave residues in
the body. . . The damages that drugs do accumulate . . . Drugs
can damage your lungs . . . your liver . . . your kidneys .
. . your brain . . . your nerves—a lot of things."
(Elementary, middle, and high school presentation scripts,
2.3) Misleading to infer that problems of chronic substance
abuse result from sporadic use or isolated experimentation.
- "Of all those thousands of chemicals, there is only
one that the person wants; there is only one that is the reason
why people smoke tobacco, and that is the drug.
Who knows what the drug in tobacco is? (Hands up. 'Nicotine!')
Right!" (Elementary, middle, and high school presentation
scripts (6.1). Nicotine dependence is only one reason why people
smoke; there are social and cultural reasons why people use
tobacco. Nicotine dependence is an important reason they cannot
- After a kid smokes marijuana twice: "Your body is
pretty smart, and a poison that comes your way, if it doesn't
kill you, the next time it comes your way, your body has built
up a defense against it. It won't effect you (sic) quite as
strongly as the time before. That is called tolerance. So if
he wants to get up as high as before, what is he going to have
to do? ('Use more!')" (Elementary, middle, and high
school presentation scripts (7.3) It is misleading to infer
that marijuana is a poison, and protecting against a poison
does not accurately reflect the processes of tolerance. Also,
tolerance does not necessarily develop at second use.
- "Doctors don't give drugs to healthy people."
(Elementary, middle, and high school presentation scripts,
1.3) Implies that healthy people are not given drugs by a doctor.
There are reasons to take prescribed drugs when a person is
healthy: aspirin, pain killers, allergy medications, and other
drugs to maintain normal functioning when subject to chronic
illnesses like diabetes.
- "The same drug can have different effects. A small
amount of a drug can speed a person up. More of that same drug
can slow the person down. Too much of that drug taken too quickly
can harm and possibly even kill the person." (Elementary,
middle, and high school presentation scripts, 2.1) Not all drugs
first act as a stimulant and then with larger doses act as a
depressant, e.g., LSD, valium.
- "Have you ever seen someone drink so much alcohol
that they actually passed out? (Almost every hand up.) This
is called a coma. The dictionary says that a coma is a state
of deep unconsciousness caused by disease, injury or poison.
A coma is not a good thing, but in a case like this, it could
save the person's life; if he keeps drinking, he could kill
himself." (Elementary, middle, and high school presentation
scripts, 2.1) Coma can lead to death, and it is misleading to
say a coma, in this case, could save a person's life.
- "Of all these chemicals, there is only one that is
the reason people smoke marijuana. The chemical that makes people
feel high is called THC. . . If THC wasn't in there nobody would
ever smoke marijuana." (Elementary, middle, and high
school presentation scripts, 2.2). There are other reasons people
smoke marijuana, for example, experimentation, desire for social
- "Drugs are basically poisons. Drugs are basically
toxins, or more simply, poisons."(Student booklet).
Although all drug use involves various levels of risk (and can
be toxic at certain dosages), it is misleading to call drugs
- "A small amount (of a drug) acts as a stimulant .
. . A greater amount acts as a sedative. . . A larger amount
acts as a poison and can kill you. This is true of almost any
drug." (Student booklet). This effect depends more
on the type of drug, rather than the amount. Although ultimately,
all drugs can sedate if a lethal dose is taken, this overstatement
- "Almost all drugs affect the mind."(Student
booklet). This overstatement is misleading.
- "Anyone who takes drugs does it to avoid problems
or get rid of some pain or unwanted feelings, including boredom.
To understand why someone takes drugs now, you need to know
what was wrong to know what was wrong (sic) before he or she
took them." (Student booklet). People take drugs for
many reasons, including health. Young people, in particular,
often take drugs because they are curious, or want to experiment,
rebel, be socially accepted, etc.
- "When a drug wears off the person wants more. When
any drug wears off, the pain or other feeling that went away
comes back harder than before." (Student booklet).
Not everyone wants more, and the problems are not always worse.
Some people do not like the drugs they try and never use them
- "Drugs ruin creativity." (Student booklet).
This statement is unsupported by widely accepted, scientific
- "Drugs dull all your senses. . . . drugs block off
all feelings. Eventually any kind of feeling becomes harder
to experience." (Student booklet). Overstated and misleading.
Some drugs are described as enhancing the senses and feelings.
Some people cite this perceived enhancement as the reason they
take the drug.
- "Anyone who takes drugs takes them as a solution to a problem he already has . . . there is ALWAYS a problem before the drugs . . ." (Student booklet). People take drugs for many reasons that have nothing to do with problems.
Terms Used in NDAP Elementary, Middle, and High School Presentations
Associated Negative Symptoms
Subtle Product Positioning
Note: Bold signifies those terms for which the presentation content or delivery scripts include a definition for students.
Personal Experiences with Drug Abuse Reported by Former Drug Users-Narconon Graduates in Marijuana the Myth (student video)
- Lose your family
- Live on the street
- Live under a bridge
- Hair falls out
- Get shot and robbed
- Become physically sick and have to keep doing drugs not to be sick
- Next thing you know you're close to death
- After the first time I was addicted
- Chased by police
- Do anything to get drugs
- Lose control of yourself
- Takes away your life
- Pot, drinking, and ecstasy were never enough
- You'll always run down that line—you can never experiment
- Everything falls apart
Note: Repeated, personal testimonials about negative consequences is indicative of scare tactics, which have been shown to be ineffective. In addition, this is a video about marijuana, yet the former drug abusers talk about the consequences of their "drug use" with a few references to ecstasy and heroin use. This lack of distinction between different types of drugs and between drug use and abuse may mislead student viewers to conclude that marijuana use always leads to other drug abuse or by itself directly caused these outcomes.
General Developmental Guidelines for Addressing Specific Drugs Within the NDAP Presentations
- 3rd grade: alcohol and tobacco.
- 4th grade: alcohol and tobacco.
- 5th grade: alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.
- 6th grade: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and inhalants.
- 7th grade: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and inhalants.
- 8th grade: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, methamphetamine and ecstasy.
- 9th grade: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, methamphetamine, ecstasy.
- 10th grade: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, crack, LSD, and hallucinogens.
- 11th grade: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, crack, LSD, and hallucinogens.
- 12th grade: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, crack, LSD, and hallucinogens.
Note: Bold drugs are identified in the Developmental Guidelines as appropriate for grade level—but no delivery script, language, suggestions or examples for addressing these drugs with students was provided in the presentation outlines.