Letter to Editor - Our reponse to letters published in Upper Yarra Mail on November 19, 2013

Rehab for the rich and Naive

In response to Isabelle Anderson's and Ruby king’s opinions (Mail, 19th November)

1. The drug and alcohol treatment facility that was near the old Warburton Hospital was an accredited service, meaning it had to answer to the health dept and it was affordable to all walks of life. Narconon do NOT have to answer to anyone as it’s a private facility and it charges $25,000.00 to $30,000 per client, per stay.

2. Having looked into the drug and alcohol rehab facility “Windana” that Ruby referred to in comparison to Narconon, Windana is an accredited facility, which means they have standards they have to meet and are answerable to the Dept of Health. Windana is a member of The Australian National Council on Drugs, Australian Drug Foundation, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and many other accredited bodies within Australia. Windana charge $5 per day for the actual residential drug withdrawal phase and 78% of one’s pension or benefit for the Therapeutic phase. Windara require a medical report including a liver function test, a complete current psychiatric report and a complete police criminal history and all current legal paperwork. Narconon on the other hand are again NOT an accredited facility, therefore they are not answerable to anyone and they are not members of any Australian bodies related to Drug and Alcohol matters. Only require a medical report. The cost to partake in Narconon are astronomical in comparison to Windara.

3. As far as Narconon helping those local residents who may already be affect because “drug and alcohol use may already be taking its toll in Warburton”, is such a joke in the sense that most local residents could NOT afford the $25,000.00 to attend Narconon. In a meeting with the local primary school, Nerida James admitted that in the 12 years Narconon has been in East Warburton only 1 (ONE) of their residents has been from Warburton. At the public meeting held in August this year Nerida James sold Narconon as a facility for the corporate sector.

4. If Narconon have nothing to hide and we as a community have nothing to fear then why don't they become accredited? Why don't they show all their costs and staff qualifications on their web site? Just like Windara do. Why don't they show the number of local community members they have helped on their web site? The total lack of transparency from Nerida and Narconon is an insult to the community of Warburton.

Anita Juffermans

Warburton.