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Synanon Went From Rehab To Deadly Cult

Synanon Went From Rehab To Deadly Cult

Founded by Charles Dederich in 1958, Synanon began as an addiction rehab center in Southern California, taking its name from the Greek prefix syn- (meaning “coming together”) and -anon (derived from Alcoholics Anonymous). By 1974, the organization boasted more than 1,700 members and around $22 million in assets, all of which became tax-exempt after the organization registered as a church.