Scientology Campaigning To Make Seattle Drug-Free

By McCarton Ackerman 02/03/14

A local branch of the controversial church has come under fire for distributing materials promoting Scientology to schools.

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Scientology building in Seattle. Shutterstock

A Seattle branch of the Church of Scientology is now working to make the city drug-free. Ann Pearce, the reverend and spokesperson of Queen Anne’s Church of Scientology, said their mission is part of an “international campaign” because founder L. Ron Hubbard believed that drugs were “a scourge on mankind.” The church partners with a company called Drug Free World which collects donations from members in order to provide printed and online materials which are then distributed. 

Pearce also spoke out against Washington’s plans to make marijuana legal for adults over the age of 21. “Letting everybody do marijuana with no consequences, I view as a mistake. I wonder what the next drug is that’s going to be legalized,” she said. “[Kids] are being educated that drugs are okay, that marijuana is okay.”

She insisted that the materials distributed are secular and have nothing to do with Scientology “other than we don’t believe in doing drugs,” but multiple schools and government outlets have stopped using the pamphlets because of their ties to the church. The pamphlets include book references from Hubbard and include a link to a website that delves further into Hubbard’s anti-drug philosophies.  In 2012, the Drug Free World program sparked controversy for including a number on their literature that directed people to Narconon, the Church of Scientology’s drug rehabilitation program.

Last April, a former Narconon executive accused the Scientology-based rehab of taking advantage of addicts at their lowest moments and offering non-existent methods of treatment. "Narconon preys on vulnerable people. That's part of the sales techniques," said Lucas Catton, who stepped down as President of Narconon's Arrowhead facility in Oklahoma in 2004. The flagship location in Oklahoma has had seven patient deaths since 2005, three of them between November 2011 and July 2012.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.