|The first Narconon was started and founded by William Benitez, an inmate at Arizona State Prison. Mr. Benitez was a heroin addict who could not seem to get off of drugs using traditional forms of treatment. After being sentenced to prison he had a realization that drug addiction had caused most of the problems in his life, including the current one. He set out to change himself through self-improvement.
Narconon – The History of the Program
Mr. Benitez Delivering a Drug Lecture
During his quest at self-improvement, he read lots of self-betterment books. One of those books, titled “Fundamentals of Thought” was a self-help book written by Mr. L. Ron Hubbard.
This had some basic principles that he started practicing and incorporated into his life. He found himself responding favorably to his efforts and wrote the warden asking permission to start a small drug recovery program to help others.
Officials denied permission for the following six months. Mr. Benitez’s request to start a program consisting of twenty convicted drug addicts, caused concern to officials who feared such a program might pose a security problem (such programs were rare in prisons during that decade).
Officials had little reason to believe that the request of a habitual drug addict and repeatedly convicted felon, would result in one of the nation’s most successful rehabilitation program for substance abusers.
Mr. Benitez persisted and finally assured officials the program was needed and would not pose a threat to the safe and orderly operation of the prison. After being allowed to start the program on a trial basis, he founded NARCONON (NARCOtics-NONe) on February 19, 1966.
Today, Narconon has spread from that one program in Arizona State Prison to include community programs in many states and countries such as Denmark, Italy, Holland, Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Columbia, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia, Taiwan, Argentina, and Brazil.
Mr. Benitez was a Hearing Officer with the Arizona Department of Corrections, the same system which once kept him under lock and key.
He was a husband for 30 years as well as a father and grandfather. Mr. Benitez passed away in June of 1999.