By Sam Ervin
In her quest to continually improve the DART (Drug Abuse Rehabilitation Training) program, Agnes Baron asked my then wife, Martha Ervin (now Aubin) and me to drive her to Arizona in June 1972. Agnes (1907-1994) was a co-founder and lifetime caretaker of Meher Mount.
Agnes wanted to research several drug rehabilitation programs in Arizona that were getting good press. We had previously been working as drug counselors with Agnes for the DART program in Ventura County, CA.
Martha and I were due a vacation. We had spent the previous year as surrogate parents to four mentally and emotionally disturbed children in the nearby Satellite Home program at Camarillo State Hospital. Agnes had facilitated that job interview for us with Norbert I. Rieger, MD, a prominent child psychiatrist and Director of the Children’s Treatment Center at the hospital.
We agreed to take a 10-day vacation and drive Agnes to Arizona to see the different drug programs she wanted to study.
Although investigation into drug abuse programs initially led Agnes Baron to Arizona on this research trip, the related events of that trip proved to be the most memorable for me.
A TEMPORARY GUEST AT MEHER MOUNT REFERRED US TO HER AUNT IN ARIZONA
At the time of the trip, Agnes had given a young couple a place to stay at Meher Mount on a temporary basis. They lived in the “white house,” the army carpenter’s shed that had been brought onto the property to house the mandali (close disciples) of Avatar Meher Baba when He was scheduled to stay at Meher Mount in 1952.
When the couple heard that Agnes was planning to go to Phoenix, AZ, the wife said she had an aunt in Tempe, next to Phoenix, and she would contact her to see if we could stay at her aunt’s house for a few days.
Agnes recognized the aunt’s name and said that she and the woman had been good friends in Greece in the late 1920s, more than 50 years earlier. Agnes had not been in touch with her since then. I have unfortunately forgotten the woman’s name.
We drove with Agnes to Tempe in our little 1965 Volkswagen station wagon. When we arrived at the aunt’s house, our hostess graciously welcomed all of us and showed us to two delightful and mercifully air-conditioned rooms. She also had a swimming pool which we were looking forward to using.
Meanwhile, the aunt also informed us that she was campaign manager for the state of Arizona for the presidential candidate George McGovern. As a result, she said she had to leave the following morning for the campaign trail. We were welcome to stay at her house as long as needed.
AN EVENING SPENT WITH AN OLD FRIEND
The aunt and Agnes immediately began reminiscing, and they spent the entire evening reviewing their adventures together in Greece. They clearly enjoyed each other’s company immensely and with much humor.
The next day, our hostess left to try to get George McGovern elected, and we set out with Agnes to visit the first of several drug rehabilitation programs.
We met with people running these programs and reviewed their approaches and procedures over the following several days. Some were in the Phoenix area, and some farther away.
THE CODAC PROGRAM
Of the drug programs we reviewed in Arizona, Agnes felt the CODAC (Community Organization for Drug Abuse Control) model had the most promise for improving Ventura County’s drug prevention and treatment efforts.
CODAC had attracted federal and state funding to coordinate and eliminate duplication of effort among drug treatment organizations, while providing education, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, training and research.
Agnes, Martha and I met with Dr. George Stavros, who started CODAC, as well as several staff members.
Agnes kept in touch with Dr. Stavros and later arranged for him to lead a six-person delegation to come to Ventura County in December, 1972, to explain their program to officials and the public of Ventura County.
Agnes said, “I believe it is one of the best drug fighting programs in the country and I only hope we can get one started here in the County.” 
When Agnes had visited her list of drug programs, we said goodbye to the lovely house in Tempe. Our hostess had not yet returned. I don’t know if she and Agnes kept in touch after that visit.
 “New Drug Program Sought in County,” The Press-Courier (Oxnard, CA), December 10, 1972, pg. 9.