Treating America’s Opioid Addiction
Part 1: The Narcotic Farm and the Promise of Salvation.
Treating America’s Opioid Addiction: Part 1: The Narcotic Farm and the Promise of Salvation by Distillations: Science + Culture + History
Our current devastating opioid crisis is unprecedented in its reach and deadliness, but it’s not the first such epidemic the United States has experienced or tried to treat. In fact, it’s the third.
Treating America’s Opioid Addiction is a three-part series that investigates how we’ve understood and treated opioid addiction over more than a century. Through the years we’ve categorized opioid addiction as some combination of a moral failure, a mental illness, a biological disease, or a crime. And though we’ve desperately wanted the problem to be something science alone can solve, the more we look, the more complicated we learn it is.
Part 1 focuses on a government-run prison-hospital, the Narcotic Farm, just for people addicted to opioids. When it opened in 1935, it promised to find a cure for drug addiction.
Hosts: Alexis Pedrick and Elisabeth Berry Drago
Reporter: Mariel Carr with additional reporting by Meir Rinde
Senior Producer: Mariel Carr
Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez
Audio Engineer: James Morrison
Photo illustration by Jay Muhlin
Claire Clark, author of The Recovery Revolution: The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States.
Nancy Campbell, historian and the head of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
John Stallone, former Narcotic Farm patient.
Claire Clark, The Recovery Revolution: The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States.
The Habit, Opioid Addiction in America, Backstory.
Inside the Story of America’s 19th-Century Opiate Addiction, Smithsonian Magazine.