According to a new report, published by the HCLU’s Drugreporter on Monday, organisations backed by the Church of Scientology are infiltrating Hungarian schools, in order to increase the Church’s social influence.
The fight against drugs is a popular cause and an easy way to manipulate people. The Church of Scientology has created several organisations claiming to rehabilitate drug addicts or prevent drug use among young people. Narconon, a so-called “drug rehabilitation” program founded by Scientologists in the 60s, uses a pseudo-scientific method based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Its residential centres have been the location of several deaths, due to the intensive sauna and vitamin “detoxification” treatment undergone by their clients. Narconon has a very strong presence on the Internet, and their paid google ads help them to recruit thousands of drug-dependent people who are often unaware of the link to Scientology.
Scientologists founded the Together for a Drug-Free Hungary Foundation, an affiliate of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, to launch a popular campaign targeting young people. The so-called ‘drug-free marathon’ campaign mobilises tens of thousands of young people to run for a drug-free Hungary and sign the drug-free pledge. Under the disguise of drug prevention, they distribute flyers with the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, identify potential new members, and build partnerships with schools, celebs, sportsmen, businessmen, and politicians.
According to a freedom of information request submitted by the HCLU to the Klebersberg Institute Maintenance Centre (KLIK), a government agency which controls public schools in Hungary, several schools have invited Scientologists to make presentations to schoolchildren about the dangers of drugs. Most school boards are probably not aware of their hidden agenda. In 2012, the government in Hungary created an accreditation system for school drug prevention programs, whereby – in theory – only health programs recommended by the National Institute for Health Development are allowed to enter schools. But the system is not enforced, and there are only a few high-quality programs with the official recommendation and the necessary funds to do prevention work. So, for many schools, the only choice lies between the DADA programs operated by the police (based on the American DARE model) and Scientologists.
In its current report, the HCLU’s Drugreporter recommends that decision-makers should inform school districts about the dangers of Scientologist activities, and provide adequate support and funding to enable high-quality prevention programs to enter schools.