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Reducing Drug Residues
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Reducing Drug Residues
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Reduction of Drug Residues: Applications in Drug Rehabilitation

Megan Shields, M.D.
Shelley Beckmann, Ph.D.
and R. Michael Wisner
Presented at the 123rd Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association



It is increasingly evident that the accumulation of drug residues and their lipophilic metabolites in the body plays a role in drug addiction. Such residues are associated with persistent symptoms and their mobilization from body stores into blood correlates with drug craving. A detoxification method developed by L. Ron Hubbard was specifically targeted at reducing levels of fat-stored chemical resides in the body and thereby alleviating the long-term effects of such compounds. We were interested in determining whether drugs were eliminated during this program and, if so, what types of symptomatic changes occurred as a consequence.

Concentrations of drug metabolites in both sweat and urine were measured in eight clients who had been actively using drugs prior to treatment with the Hubbard program. Treatment occurred at the Narconon drug rehabilitation center in Los Angeles. Cocaine, amphetamine, and benzodiazepine metabolites were detected by fluorescent immunoassay in both sweat and urine of these clients. Following start of treatment, metabolite concentration increased in either sweat or urine in five cases. In two cases the level of drug was below detection prior to treatment, but became detectable while doing the detoxification program. Drugs continued to be eliminated for up to five weeks.

A separate series of 249 clients with a history of drug abuse rated the severity of their symptoms before and after treatment with the Hubbard program. Prior to treatment their chief symptomatic complaints included fatigue, irritability, depression, intolerance of stress, reduced attention span and decreased mental acuity. These same symptoms were dominant in those who had ceased active drug abuse over a year prior to treatment. Following treatment, both past and current users reported marked improvement in symptoms with most returning to normal range. This detoxification program represents a vital innovation in drug rehabilitation: an approach aimed at a long-term reduction of the predisposition for drug abuse.

Benzodiazipine detoxification graph
Benzodiazipine detoxification graph


Residues of many drugs - including LSD, phencyclidine, cocaine, marijuana and diazepam - are known to accumulate in the body. These compounds may be retained for extended periods of time, and are especially abundant in long-term, hard core drug users.

Persistent symptoms associated with drug abuse often linger long after abuse has ceased. The consideration that accumulated residues may play a role in the persistence of symptoms led to the development of a program aimed at reducing levels of foreign compounds in the body and thereby assisting in the recovery of the individual.

This detoxification program is one component of the Narconon drug rehabilitation program. It has been empirically observed that clients are more alert and do better on the balance of the Narconon program after completing the detoxification component.

We were interested in evaluating the effects of the detoxification program on both the elimination of drug metabolites and the alleviation of symptomatic complaints. Therefore, we measured the levels of various drug metabolites in both sweat and urine over the course of the detoxification program in eight clients with long-term drug abuse problems.

We also monitored the change in severity of self-reported symptoms in a series of 249 clients with a history of drug abuse who were treated with this detoxification program.