Like many people searching for alcohol addiction treatment, Danette Elliott turned to the Internet, where she found a site offering to help locate the "best drug rehab."
The service recommended a program at the Narconon Vista Bay facility near Santa Cruz, trumpeting its effectiveness.
According to Elliott, she was never told the treatment program was sponsored by the Church of Scientology.
In a lawsuit against Narconon Vista Bay, first reported by Courthouse News Service, Elliott claims that the alcohol rehab program doubles as a recruiting tool for the Church of Scientology as well as a way for the Church to make money. Elliott says she forked over $34,000 for treatment.
A Catholic, Elliott says that she was told the program was nondenominational and was offended by the proselytizing on behalf of the Church of Scientology and the dennunciation of mainstream religions. Elliott also accuses the facility of letting unlicensed addiction specialists provide treatment, which in some cases included reading the books of L. Ron Hubbard.
According to the lawsuit:
[Elliott and her spouse] were told that the treatment was an "open system" and was like "going on a vacation." They were told that treatment started with a dry sauna treatment for about 10 days to rid her of toxins. [They] were told that there would be various exercises, both physical and mental, to find the causative reason for her addictions. [Elliott] was told that she could walk on the beach, bring books with her, go to Santa Cruz for shopping and that there would be good food, a heated swimming pool, volleyball, basketball, ping-pong and various diversions.
In fact, [Elliott] was taken to a "withdrawal" cabin where she was crammed into a small living quarters with 9 other "students" and 2 to 4 staff members. There was little privacy with the cabin consisting of 3 rooms with double beds. The food was terrible. [Elliott] was not allowed to leave the "withdrawal" cabin. She was not allowed to communicate with the outside world.
(Sounds like typical rehab to us, but what do we know ....)
In addition, Elliott accuses the facility of refusing to administer her prescribed medication for a blood disorder, but did give her toxic daily doses of Vitamin A.
Elliott says she stayed at the facility for two days before getting out of there. She is suing for $1 million.