WANGANUI woman Helma Vermuelen is adamant scientology's Narconon drug and alcohol programme is desperately needed and can be made to happen in Wanganui.
Mrs Vermeulen, a member of the Redding Bethren at the Wanganui Bible Chapel, is part of the group planning the church-based rehabilitation centre at Holly Lodge in Papaiti Rd.
Mrs Vermeuelen said yesterday she told her church more than a year ago that they needed to do something to help the community.
"There are so many people with drug problems here and we can help in a good and right way. I truly believe Narconon is the best programme available."
Mrs Vemuelen said she had researched the programme first on the internet before visiting the Church of Scientology in Auckland, where she was given books on the programme. Then, when she was heading overseas on a family holiday, she stopped over in Los Angeles to talk to American-based scientologists about Narconon.
"We are only the builders of this new centre. We are not the people who will be running the programme."
A trust to be set up by chapel will advertise and appoint specialist people to run the programme, she said.
These people will be sent to the Melbourne Centre set in 80,000 hectares of national park an hour from the city, for between four and six weeks' training, she said.
Mrs Vermuelen said she had also made it clear to the Church of Scientology that they were a Christian group and did not want to subscribe to the doctrines of scientology.
She was assured that the Narconon programme is entirely secular (non-religious) and is not about the religion of scientology in any way, she said.
"We think Narconon is special because it works on the premise of a clean mind and a clean body, based on introducing students to healthy living.
"They will be treated with vitamins and minerals and have saunas to flush the toxins from the fat cells of their bodies, along with regular exercise and counselling," Mrs Vermuelen said. Last week neighbours either side of Holly Lodge said they were worried about the safety of their children if the centre goes ahead.
They said an addiction centre should not be set up in community where there are families with young children. But their worries are completely unfounded, Mrs Vermuelen said.
"The students who come here will not be sent from the courts or the prisons.
"They will be people from the community who want to help themselves have a better life and we want to see them achieve this."
PICTURED: Helma Vermuelen and scientology founder L Ron Hubbard's book about Narconon, his programme to help addicts overcome their addiction