Reaping a Sad Harvest: A "Narcotic Farm" That Tried to Grow Recovery [Slide Show]

A federal prison in Kentucky was a temporary home for thousands, including Sonny Rollins, Peter Lorre and William S. Burroughs as well as a lab for addiction treatments such as LSD
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The revelations that ultimately tainted Narco's reputation involved the CIA and LSD. For years, the Addiction Research Center secretly accepted millions of dollars from the CIA as part of a covert program known as MK-ULTRA.....[ More ]


Patients here work in the spring kale harvest. They also milked cows, harvested corn, beans and tomatoes as well as butchered pigs. The hope was that the newfound work ethic patients developed during farm labor would help sustain abstinence from drugs.....[ More ]


The Narcotic Farm was set on 1,000 acres (400 hectares) of farmland. To the right of the photo are barns and silos. As the book notes: at Narco's peak, its award-winning dairy herd numbered more than 90 cows.....[ More ]


The original caption for this photo, which appeared in a 1951 New York World-Telegram & Sun , read: "The brighter side of Narco--a jam session by patients who formed their own orchestra." Drugs sent many jazz musicians to the Narcotic Farm, who often performed for fellow inmates, staff and residents of nearby Lexington, Ky.....[ More ]


The central interior tower of the Narcotic Farm, built in an Art Deco style, was designed to stand as a "temple" of rehabilitation.....[ More ]


The original caption for this photo, which appeared in a 1951 New York World-Telegram & Sun series on the Narcotic Farm, read: "This desperate narcotics addict, caught like his fellows in the revolving door of law enforcement, will probably go back to his habit when he is free."

As the book notes, one of the most important contributions Narco to our knowledge of drugs was the view of addicts "as people suffering from a chronic, relapsing disorder that affects public health," says book co-author Nancy Campbell, an associate professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., who studies the history of scientific research on drug addiction.....[ More ]


A picture of syringes confiscated during an admission. Note the one on the right disguised as a fountain pen. As the book notes, arriving volunteers often carried drug paraphernalia.....[ More ]


Although two thirds of Narco's population consisted of convicts arrested for drugs, the other third were volunteers who checked themselves in for treatment. Volunteers could leave at any time, whereas inmates could not--but all patients wore the same clothes, worked the same jobs, ate the same food (according to the book, author William S.....[ More ]


The apparatus in the middle of the picture was designed to test the mental reactions of those under the influence of morphine. For instance, the experimenter read certain words at the patient to see how fast they responded by pushing a button that turned on the lights.....[ More ]


The Darrow photopolygraph measured a patient's mental and physical reaction to slang references to drugs. In this test a researcher in an adjoining room shows the addict words such as "dope" and "informer".....[ More ]


A laboratory inside the Narcotic Farm. The Addiction Research Center at Narco was devoted to answering some of the most fundamental questions about addiction, such as what accounted for high rates of relapse or why some drug users became addicted whereas others did not.....[ More ]


Tens of thousands of men and women were sent to the United States Narcotic Farm for rehabilitation over the course of 40 years from every walk of life--from ministers and doctors to hustlers and farmers.....[ More ]

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