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Scientology boss: we want to help

A leading member of the Church of Scientology has denied that an anti-drugs campaign targeting Scottish cities is aimed at recruiting people.

The Sunday Herald approached Graeme Wilson, public affairs director for Scientology in the UK, as dozens of activists handed out booklets entitled The Truth About Drugs in the streets of Glasgow.

As we spoke, two people holding long-lens cameras circled us and flashbulbs went off in our faces. We were also filmed on a camcorder.

Wilson, who is originally from North Berwick, said: "We're not promoting Scientology. If people ask, of course we're happy to tell them where we're resourced from, but the whole focus is drug education so it really doesn't come up." Hundreds of people in Glasgow and Edinburgh have been targeted by the Drug-Free World campaign.

Wilson added: "We distribute the booklets. We take them into shops. We visit community groups so that they can distribute them to their community, to their people. It's going fantastically well. It has been very, very well received."

The Church of Scientology was founded in the 1950s by the late science-fiction writer L Ron Hubbard. By 1966, he had set up his own drugs rehabilitation programme known as Narconon which is now a global network.

The controversial programme, which sees patients spending prolonged periods in saunas and taking high doses of vitamins, has been linked to several deaths in the United States.

Wilson said he would refer addicts in Scotland to Narconon, adding: "If somebody asked us if we know of any good rehabs we would definitely give them that as a referral.

"Any programme that is a drug-free rehab system is in our view a good one. The methadone approach is a road to nowhere."

However, Wilson was also keen to distance Drug-Free World from Narconon. He said: "This campaign itself is funded by the International Association of Scientologists. It's a fully secular campaign itself.

"There is another programme called Narconon. It has centres all over the world and it's a drug rehab. But that's not directly part of The Truth About Drugs."

Contextual targeting label: 
Drugs

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