Nation: Life at Synanon Is Swinging

A once respected drug program turns into a kooky cult

In a cavernous California mountain lodge, some 40 smiling people, their shiny, shaved heads reflecting the dancing flames of a roaring fire, oohed, ahed and applauded. A lawyer had just pledged to file ten divorces for the ten highest bidders at a fund-raising auction on New Year's Eve. At a wooden table a grizzled, gruff man who wears a cap emblazoned with the message I'M THE MEANEST S.O.B. IN THE VALLEY nodded his approval. Charles (Chuck) Dederich, 64, was adding another ritual to his...

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