A conspiracy of silence: Scientology and my local thrift store

Since 1987, the Beit T’Shuvah thrift store in Culver City has been “a high-end, charity-run resale store that supports Beit T’shuvah, a drug/alcohol rehab in Los Angeles,” as described on their Google profile. The store places emphasis on the value of charity, hiring primarily recovering addicts in its storefront. Over Thanksgiving, I visited the store only to find that it was involved in a confusing partnership with the Church of Scientology.

While shopping at the store, I purchased a documentary called “The Truth About Drugs.” I was drawn in by its garish cover and D.A.R.E. moralism—according to the back of the DVD, meth is normally made from “battery acid and rat poison.” Frankly, I thought watching it would make a good laugh, along with the other documentary I got that would walk me through surviving singlehood as a Christian woman. As a documentary, “The Truth About Drugs” is unsurprisingly lackluster. The film lacks any narrative structure, playing like a series of interviews with real people, not actors, lit with an ominous green filter. The documentary makes outrageous claims about the nature of drug useit claims that marijuana leads to crack and heroin, or even that sniffing glue is a common adult method of inhaling drugs—but even the absurdity of the documentary’s claims couldn’t make it stand out. Instead, it blended into the memory miasma of every other scared-straight anti-drug documentary I’ve ever been forced to watch…

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