The Town Crier often runs articles warning of scams. This makes the Nov. 23 paragraphs titled “Fentanyl addiction help” all the more insidious.

Narconon International is an organization owned and controlled by the Church of Scientology. It is highly controversial not only because of these ties, but, also because the “science” behind its approach to addiction is dubious.

Moreover, the Narconon program can be expensive — in the 10s of 1,000s of dollars.

When we see an advertisement, we typically have a tasty morsel of bait dangled in front of us. But because it is in the form of an ad, we see the hook as well as the bait. We know exactly what is happening, and if we take the bait, we do so with eyes wide-open.

However, when the bait is in the form of a few innocuous paragraphs that seem almost to be a public service announcement, the hook becomes all but invisible.

Troubled people desperate for help can be vulnerable. A short newspaper article may seem harmless enough, but it can become dangerous if it lures an unsuspecting person to make a phone call where there is a skilled salesman at the other end.

There are, no doubt, people who have been helped by Narconon. But if you are seeking substance abuse treatment for yourself or a family member, you should approach Narconon with caution. A place to start your research might be https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narconon.

Dan Pietsch