The Narcotic Farm

Stan Novick was a high school basketball star in Brooklyn in the late 1940s when he became addicted to heroin. For the next twenty years Novick spent his life as a junkie in and out of federal prisons. He would go to The Narcotic Farm twice, first as a volunteer, and later, brought there in handcuffs as a prisoner.

In the early 1950s Edward Flowers of the Bronx was sent to The Narcotic Farm and volunteered for the drug-testing program. In 1975, he would testify before Congress about his experiences in the institution's addiction research experiments. His troubling testimony foreshadowed new laws regarding the use of prisoners as human test subjects.

New Yorker Bernie Kolb volunteered for treatment at the institution in 1964. He stayed for one year where he worked as a researcher’s assistant in the prison’s research lab. He recalls, “my feeling about the doctors was they really were trying to help people.” He would leave Lexington and move to Southern California where he became a member of the self-help group “Synanon,” which he credits for his recovery.

John Stallone grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and was addicted to heroin as a teenager in the 1950s. He arrived Lexington – in lieu of being sent to Rikers Island – in 1959. Like Bernie Kolb, he would join “Synanon,” which he also credits with his recovery. Today he counsels incarcerated drug addicts in California.

Dr. David Deitch was arrested in Chicago at the age of 17 for heroin use and sent to the Narcotic Farm. Today he is an internationally recognized expert in drug abuse treatment and a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego.

The film’s narrator and composer, Wayne Kramer, was a member of the revolutionary rock and roll band The MC5. Following the MC5s breakup Kramer’s drug addiction spiraled out of control and he was arrested on federal drug charges and sent to Lexington – after it was no longer a treatment hospital – in 1975. Today he is sober and lives with his wife in Los Angeles.

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the patients
the staff