Narconon Drug Rehab

Narconon’s Beginings – The Truth About Narconon

The Narconon Rehabilitation program was founded by William Benitez, a former heroin and other drug abuser. Mr. Benitez cleaned himself up and stayed clean and sober for 35 years until his natural death in 1999. William promised to leave a path for others to full recovery, if he was able to end his own chronic relapse to heroin. The Narconon Rehab program and all the Narconon Rehab Centers offer Mr. Benitez’s promise and legacy for all those addicted to drugs and alcohol.

See a full description of the Narconon program to find out how addiction can end forever.

Narconon’s beginnings tell a story of one man’s drive to achieve a life long goal: self determinism over his own behavior. William wanted no crutches, dependency on others or groups to maintain sobriety. His desire was to achieve full recovery.


Here is William Benitez’s story in full:

August 2, 1965, William Benitez, then an inmate at Arizona State Prison set a goal to help others overcome addiction. He wrote on his calender: “Decision to set up Narcotic Foundation.” He also circled the 18th of August, his target date to approach prison officials to request permission to set up a drug rehabilitation program in the prison.

Prison officials denied permission for 6 months. Mr. Benitez’s request to start a rehab program included helping twenty other drug addicts. Despite delays over concerns over security (rehab programs were rare in prisons in the ’60s). Officials had no idea this initial request to help others would result in one of the nation’s most successful rehabilitation programs for substance abusers.

After being allowed to start the program on a trial basis, Benitez founded the NARCONON program (NARCOtics-NONe) on February 19, 1966.

In 2009, the Narconon rehab program is now in helping drug addicts end their addiction in nearly a dozen US States and countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Italy, Holland, Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Colombia, Switzerland, New Zealand, South Africa, Ghana, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Argentina and Brazil.


The following is William Benitez’s story in his own words:

I started smoking pot in 1947, when I was thirteen. Then I went on to injecting opium and other drugs when I was about fifteen. I started to get into trouble and was arrested for various crimes, so I decided to join the Marines to see if I could get away from drugs. Instead, I ended up getting arrested on drug charges during the Korean conflict, received a military court martial and was discharged as undesirable.

In the following years, I kept trying to stay away from drugs. Sometimes I could stay clean for a short while, then I would go right back on the needle again. I carried the monkey for about eighteen years, and it cost me thirteen calendar years of being locked up. In addition to doing time in the Marines, I did a Federal prison term and also was convicted three times in Arizona state courts.

On my last trip to prison, I pled guilty on December 22, 1964 to possession of narcotics. Because I was being sentenced as a habitual offender, the sentence called for a mandatory fifteen years, and up to life. I remember speaking to one court official and telling him how I was still going to leave drugs alone and maybe even start a drug program. I remember his words so well: “The best thing to do with guys like you, after the first time, is take you behind a building and do you and everyone else a favor and put you out of your misery.”

My attorney arranged for me to go before the judge just before Christmas, feeling that the spirit of the holiday might be in my favor. It may have worked. I made my plea to the judge telling him of all the attempts I had made over the years to stop using drugs, such as joining the Marines, committing myself to hospitals for psychiatric care and therapy on several occasions, isolating myself in mining towns in a personal attempt to kick the habit, and even how two marriages had not helped me straighten up. I told him that in spite of all those failures, I was still going to make it and was going to find a solution to my problem, that I had not yet quit. He must have believed there was still a spark of hope for me. He sentenced me to the mandatory fifteen years, but instead of running it to life, he made the term fifteen to sixteen years.

After arriving at prison, a friend of mine gave me some reading material to keep me occupied while I was in the Orientation Cellblock pending transfer to general population. Among the material was an old, tattered book, Fundamentals of Thought, by L. Ron Hubbard. I had heard of his writings when I previously served a ten-year sentence at Arizona State Prison, but had never read them. I had always been an avid reader of books dealing with human behavior. Yet, this small book impressed me more than anything else I had ever read before. I read it over and over and then purchased additional books by Mr. Hubbard and studied them very carefully during the following year, even into the late hours of the night in my cell.

The material identified human abilities and their development. I was amazed I had never run across such workability within a multitude of other works I had studied over the years. I’m not a gullible person when it comes to accepting new or different approaches or ideas. If they work, fine. Otherwise, throw them out the window. They either work or they don’t. I was tired of experimenting with so many ideas and philosophies, many having credence only because some “authority” had written them.

What impressed me the most about [Hubbard’s] materials was that they concentrated not only on identifying abilities, but also on methods (practical exercises) by which to develop them. I realized that drug addiction was nothing more than a “disability,” resulting when a person ceases to use abilities essential to constructive survival.

I found that if a person rehabilitated and applied certain abilities, that person could persevere toward goals set, confront life, isolate problems and resolve them, communicate with life, be responsible and set ethical standards, and function within the band of certainty.
I finally realized I had developed the essential abilities needed to overcome my drug problem. Feeling myself on safe ground, I knew I had to make this technology available to other addicts in the prison. I thought back over the years of all the junkies I had shot up with, and remembered their most treasured conversation, “One of these days I’m going to quit.” I had found the means and was going to share it with them. That’s when I made the decision real by writing it down on my calendar page in my cell.

So effective was the technology I had learned, that I experienced a freedom long lost to me. The tall prison walls became only temporary barriers. I realized that my 6×8 foot cell was all that I needed as a command post. Even back then, I knew Narconon would reach international proportions, and even wrote an article on it in 1967, “The Purpose of Narconon.”

The program was sanctioned by the warden, and it soon began to expand from its original twenty members. I then started to get requests from non-addict inmates who wanted to get into Narconon. They told me they were impressed with what Narconon students had told them about the program and what the technology taught. I approached the Administration for permission to include non-addicts. At first it resisted, saying that non-addict members didn’t need the services of Narconon, and that they might disrupt the program.

The Narconon Rehab Program Is Effective for Criminal Rehabilitation As Well

Benitez wrote: “I demonstrated to officials that any person, inmate or otherwise, could benefit from Narconon because its attention was on increasing abilities, that we had an ethics mechanism built into the program, and that the responsibility and involvement required of a member would soon dissuade anyone not serious about improvement. I convinced the prison officials. The program met its expectations so well that seven months after the beginning of Narconon, I was asked to start another program for young offenders housed in the annex outside the prison walls.”

“I then wrote to Mr. Hubbard about Narconon. He and his organizations supported our program by donating books, tapes and course materials. We received hundreds of letters from throughout the world validating our efforts to make drug addiction and criminal or illegal behavior a thing of the past in our lives.”

Later, Benitez researched his conviction and discovered he had been tried under the wrong statute and was given too long a sentence. The court advised that Benitez could be re-sentenced to time served and be released based on his eighteen months already served because of the miscarriage of justice.

The Narconon program had just begun and Mr. Benitez believed the program would collapse if he didn’t establish it fully. He requested a shorter sentence allowing him to fully implement the rehab program. The Court re-sentenced him to four to six years, leaving 16 months in his sentence. Mr. Benitez returned to prison and developed the program to its full capacity. As he states, “It was the best, but toughest decision I ever made in my life. I would have loved to walk away from that court a free man.”

The Narconon program came to the attention of the public when reporters from the Arizona Daily Star received permission from the prison warden to interview Mr. Benitez. The Star printed a two-part series on the Narconon program in August 1966. TV Channel 10 News from Phoenix filmed an interview of Mr. Benitez and members of the Narconon program.

Mr. Benitez was released in October 1967. He moved to California to expand the Narconon organization and to make full rehab available to addicts wanting to end their addiction. Mr. Hubbard and his organizations supported the effort, resulting in worldwide expansion.

Years later, Mr. Benitez returned to Arizona and was hired as Inmate Liaison by former Arizona Department of Corrections Director, Ellis McDougall, in 1981. Until his death in 1999, he served as a Hearing Officer on inmate complaints for the Corrections Director at Central Headquarters.

To contact a Narconon Rehab Consultant and receive an assessment of if the Narconon Detox and Rehab program is right for you or a loved one contact:

Narconon Consultant In the USA and Canada: 1-866-266-6616

Narconon Consultant in the UK: 44 (0) 7522 921739

Leave a Reply

*