The Narcotic Farm


The Narcotic Farm: The Rise and Fall of America’s First Prison for Drug Addicts documents the visual history of this unusual federal prison set up to find a cure for addiction. Featuring more than 150 photos and images, culled from more than two dozen federal, state and local archives, The Narcotic Farm includes accompanying text by filmmakers JP Olsen and Luke Walden and Dr. Nancy Campbell, an associate professor of the history of science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Published by Abrams in 2008.

"A fascinating photo essay lovingly saved from obscurity."
- Errol Morris, Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker

"Beautiful, fascinating. The story brings an important moment in history vividly to life. It’s a stunning work.”
- Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps

“A wealth of revealing photographs and documents that speaks volumes about what it was like to be a junkie in the mid-twentieth century.”
- Luc Sante, author of Low Life and Evidence

“Everyone who cares about addiction and recovery in this country should look at these pictures and read this book.”
- Susan Cheever, author of My Name Is Bill Wilson: His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous

"Compelling. Fascinating."
- Richard Stratton, founder of Prison Life

"The Narcotic Farm works its magic by recapturing, in images and words, a lost world."
- David Courtwright, author of Dark Paradise, Addicts Who Survived, and Forces of Habit

"The authors are to be commended for their accessible text and high-quality images that vividly convey the history of the Narcotic Farm."
- Eric Schneider, author of Smack: Heroin and the American City


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