Blu By The Sea
Also known as Narconon Gulf Coast
3391 Scenic Highway 98 East
Destin, FL 32541
This is the first in a series of profiles of major Narconon centers. Located about 50 miles East of Pensacola, FL, this facility provides in-patient Narconon treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.
They maintain a second boarding location at 2731 Scenic Highway 98. This site has been visited by inspectors, but the status as a “Community Residential Home, Large” by the city of Destin was denied on November 11, 2011. The facility is listed as active by the State of Florida in “Licensed Substance Abuse Providers By City As of June 1, 2014.”
She is seen here with her husband, Herbert Ross, the “Senior Director of Expansion.” According to their IRS filings, he received no compensation in 2012, but received $45,287 in 2011.
Dr. Barry Carpenter is listed as a Director, with no compensation. Dr. Carpenter is a minister with Destin United Methodist Church.
New for 2012 is Dr. Scott Walker, “Medical Director,” with compensation of $37,690 in 2012. Dr. Walker is listed on their web site as “Attorney.” Searches of the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Bar directories found no entries for Scott Walker as either a doctor or a lawyer.
In 2012 they were sued by Heidi and Nathaniel Gore, seeking a refund of $40,000. They had sponsored a patient to attend the facility, but withdrew after they discovered that they are associated with Scientology.
On or about September 9th 2012, the Gores, searching from New York for facilities that could serve the Patient, were directed to the Narconon website. The Gores reviewed the website, and spoke by telephone with spokespersons from Narconon. During conversations with the Gores, none of the Narconon spokespeople revealed any connection to Scientology.
Soon after enrolling the Patient, with the help of others, the Gores independently discovered that Narconon is, in fact, connected with Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard. Immediately thereafter, Mr. Gore called Narconon and spoke with defendant Debbie Ross.
During those conversations, Mr. Gore explained that it was not acceptable for the Patient to be in the care of a facility with any connection to the Church of Scientology or L. Ron Hubbard.
On or about September 11, 2012, Mr. Gore’s attorney wrote to Narconon to recount the events and to demand the promised refund. Narconon’s response claimed that “the deposit and fees are non-refundable.” Ms. Ross failed to acknowledge her promises to Mr. Gore that she would pro-rate the deposit.
The Florida Department of Children and Families, Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health has visited the facilities on three occasions.
On April 26, 2011 inspectors responded to a complaint that the facility was overcrowded. The inspection did not find this to be true. On September 18, 2012 a complaint was made that a patient had been expelled, and that a student nurse was dispensing medication in violation of regulations. The inspectors found this to be true, and reminded them that only licensed RNs and LPNs can dispense medication. On November 29, 2012, inspectors received a complaint concerning insurance irregularities, overcrowding, improper release of confidential information, and misrepresentation of the facility’s success rate. The inspectors did not find evidence to support the allegations. See links to the complaint documents below.
Here are some comments from internet message boards and directories of rehab facilities on Narconon Gulf Coast.
We sent a family member to Narconon Gulf Coast in July of 2011 and he is doing great. We jsut celebrated his birthday and he is a great example of what drug rehab can do for someone when it is done right! As is true for many familes today, we had several people who needed help with their alcohol and drug addiction and we only use Narconons now!
Narconon Gulf Coast took great care to see that he got an individualized program that handled his specific issues. Issues that the 12-Step programs we had him in before did not take care. Thank you Narconon Gulf Coast!
An anonymous story from the Ripoff Report:
In Feb 2012, I was sent to Narconon Gulf Coast in Destin Florida for treatment for a drug addiction. We were assured over and over again that Narconon was NOT affiliated with Scientology and had nothing to do with the Church. When I got to Gulf Coast, I almost immediately realized I and my family had been blatantly lied to.
The sauna treatment was a nightmare. I felt sick and exhausted from having to sit in 110+ degree dry heat repeatedly over the course of 5 hours a day, for three weeks. Any issue I had was explained away as “the sauna doing it’s job” and my body getting rid of toxins. One morning, after taking a huge dose of niacin, I became very weak, had extreme pains in my stomach and felt like I was going to pass out. I told the “sauna tech” on duty what was going on and she tried to make me get “back in the box!” as the sauna is called. I was fearful of my health at this point and refused, instead walking (stumbling) past her, and landing in my bed in my room. I was crying in pain, and asking to see the “doctor on staff”, who surprise surprise, was no where to be found. I ended up having to go to the emergency room and paying out of pocket because Narconon’s “doctor on staff” couldn’t be reached. The ER found nothing wrong, and the pain eventually subsided, and so I went back to Narconon. Later, when the doctor at Narconon was finally located and came in, he spent all of 5 minutes with me, then dissmissed me as “ok to continue with the sauna”. I was petrified after this experience, which was the one “uncomfortable” effect from sauna that Narconon staff actually denied was related to sauna.
When I realized the only way I was getting out of Narconon was to tell them what they wanted to hear, I began to “fake it” and write glowing testimonials after each portion of the program (if you do not write good testimonials attesting to how the program is helping you, you are forced to remain in the program longer).
An anonymous report on Citehealth.com:
My daughter called to find a place for her friend and was told they ran at 100% occupancy but did have a bed that day. If she wanted it she had to give a deposit of $5K. The next day her friend went to a closer facility and my daughter cancelled and asked for a refund. They refused. She asked if they ran at 100% why did they have to keep her deposit? When she investigated the place some more, she learned that they are part of Scientology, they do not have any way to claim 90% recovery rate, and they are dishonest about the insurance coverage. They are a fraud and should not be allowed to dupe people at their most vulnerable.
I to was fooled by Mrs Ross and son Chris Ross was told insurance would cover and never paid a cent. Plus was threatened by owner Mrs Ross that she would su me for harrrassment if I posted anything bad about Narconon. They make your family sign papers while they are high on drugs and they take all your life savings. AFter they treat you they release you with no help or follow up. They have people working there that have been treated there and are not professionals. They have both men and women in the same houses and do not keep them separated. They took my life savings and all they care about is getting you in and out. They tell you they have no beds then when you have the money to pay they tell you they made one available and you get there and there are several beds available. This is a terrible place do not waste your money. Its all about scientology which they never tell you and then say it is not. I could go on and on and on..I just want to warn others of this money making business that calls itself on the up and up…NOT…
Minutes Destin Board of Adjustment Wednesday, November 2, 2011 regarding 2731 Scenic Highway 98, Destin, FL.
The following complaint reports have been converted from the originals to searchable PDF format for ease of access.