Skip to content
Skip to content
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Virtual First Friday: The Narcotic Farm: The Rise and Fall of America’s First Prison for Drug Addicts

February 4 @ 1:00 pm

Dr. Nancy D. Campbell, JP Olsen, and Luke Walden

Nicknamed simply “Narco” by locals, the United States Narcotic Farm opened in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1935.  Equal parts federal prison, treatment center, and research laboratory, Narco’s mission was to rehabilitate drug addicts and find a cure for opiate addiction.  Join us via Zoom* to learn more about the treatments pioneered at Narco, patient experiences on the farm, and the scandal that led to the facility’s closure in 1975.  Drawing on a wide variety of sources – including many found in the Kentucky Historical Society collection – authors Nancy D. Campbell, JP Olsen, and Luke Walden offer “a vital perspective on US drug policy, addiction, and incarceration as the nation struggles with a new opioid epidemic.”  Originally published in 2008, University Press Kentucky re-released The Narcotic Farm: The Rise and Fall of America’s First Prison for Drug Addicts this past year.  View the companion documentary film here.  Dr. Nancy D. Campbell is a historian of science, technology and medicine.  She serves as Professor and Head of the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.  JP Olsen is a documentary filmmaker and writer.  He has worked on numerous programs shown on A&E, CBS, Discovery Channel, HBO, and PBS, and has written for New York Magazine, The New York Observer, Newsday, The Village Voice, and other publications.  Luke Walden is a documentary filmmaker, cameraman, and editor. He has taught photography at the University of Connecticut and Rhode Island School of Design, and film making at the New York Film Academy.

*TECHNOLOGY: This virtual event will take place via Zoom, an online meeting platform.  For optimal experience, guests should connect using a device with a screen, a speaker, and a keyboard.  (A web-enabled camera is also nice, but not necessary.)  To accommodate guests who may not have access to this technology, a phone number will be provided at registration to dial into the event and listen to the presentation from any landline or mobile phone.  Need help using Zoom?  Check out this short video.  You can also contact us at [email protected] or call 502-782-8070.


February 4
1:00 pm


KY United States + Google Map
Frankfort Public Art

Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist & Convention Commission
300 Saint Clair St., Suite 102
Frankfort, KY 40601