Narco Farm: reimagining rehab

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 14:00 to 21:00
Science Gallery London.
Free ticketed event

In 1929 in Lexington, Kentucky, the US Government began building the first ever drug treatment facility with what was at the time a radical new ethos – that people with drug problems should receive therapeutic care, not be incarcerated as a punishment. The Narcotic Farm was born, and embraced as a new model of a more humane approach to the rising problem of drug addiction.

What no one predicted was that the Narcotic Farm would also develop into an informal musical conservatoire.  Heroin was very much part of the jazz subculture, and the Narcotic Farm numbered many famous musicians amongst its patients, including Sonny Rollins, Chet Baker and Lee Morgan, who were encouraged to write, practice and perform.   

Narco Farm is an afternoon of talks, discussions and sound recordings, followed by an evening of live music and film.  It is open to anyone with an interest in drugs and music.

Please note the event is split into two parts, which are ticketed separately. If you would like to attend both parts, please book tickets for each event. 

Talks and discussions will take place in the theatre between 14:00 and 17:00. Live music will take place on the ground floor between 18:00 and 21:00.


Panel 1 - Lexington’s legacy for addiction research with Marjorie Senechal, Dr Steve Sharman, Paul Lennon and JP Olsen

Panel 2 - Lexington’s legacy for addiction treatment, focusing on health/criminal justice debate with Dr Ed Day, Prof. Nancy Campbell and Annabel Bouteloup 

Q&As and conclusions - Sally Marlow

LIVE MUSIC - 18:00 - 21:00

For one night only, the Narco Band, featuring Prof. Colin Drummond and Prof. Tim Hickman will be playing music by jazz musicians with a connection to Lexington and/or heroin.


Professor Marjorie Senechal is an American mathematician and historian of science, the Louise Wolff Kahn Professor Emerita in Mathematics and History of Science and Technology at Smith College and editor-in-chief of The Mathematical Intelligencer. She is  the daughter of Abe Wikler, who was Associate Director at Lexington Narcotics Hospital, and grew up in the ground of Lexington.  She has chronicled her childhood in a memoir, Narco Brat. 

Dr Ed Day is a Senior Lecturer at the National Addiction Centre and a Consultant in Addiction Psychiatry with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust. His work is split between clinical research and teaching at King’s and clinical practice in a drug treatment team in Erdington in Birmingham. Ed is currently the Vice President of the Society for the Study of Addiction, and has been a member of a number of expert working groups to develop national clinical guidance in the field.  

Professor Nancy Campbell is a Professor and the Department Head of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.  Her research includes the social significance of legal and illegal drugs to those who govern and use them, produce scientific knowledge about them, and seek to treat drug problems.

JP Olsen is a documentary filmmaker and writer, who together with Luke Walden, wrote, produced and directed the award-winning independent documentary film, "The Narcotic Farm”. He is also co-author of the book of the same name, with Nancy Campbell.

Dr Steve Sharman is currently a Research Fellow at the University of East London, where he is funded by a three-year fellowship from the Society for the Study of Addiction. Steve completed his PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge investigating gambling related cognitions and gambling in vulnerable populations, an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL, and a BSc in Psychology at UEL.

Annabel Bouteloup is an Expert by Experience, 4 years in recovery, and an ex-service user, now working within Wandsworth drug and alcohol service as service user rep and Aurora wandsworth rep. She also is co chair for service user involvement in addiction for Public Health England.

Paul Lennon is a Director of the  Aurora Project - a peer support service based in South London. Paul has been a resident of Lambeth for over 15 years, and has a keen interest in addictions treatment services. Paul has represented service users both in the borough of Lambeth and also at a national level at Public Health England.  He is also a founder member and the co-convenor of the King’s College London Addictions Service User Research Group.

Kevin C. Dooley from his own experience expertly understands addiction and best practice for recovery from it.  To delivering bespoke training and contributing to the debate on addiction by articles and featuring on international media; he is a sought after motivational keynote speaker engaging justice, health, local authority professionals and students, and has been invited to Parliament, The House of Lords and the Cambridge Union sharing his own story, insights, strategy and the powerful message that change is possible!

Niamh Eastwood is a non-practising barrister who is Executive Director of Release, an independent charity leading the UK in expertise on drugs and drugs law. It provides free non-judgmental, specialist advice and information to the public and professionals on issues related to drug use and to drug laws, and campaigns on issues relevant to its clients.

Professor Ian Stolerman is Emeritus Professor of Behavioural Pharmacology at King's College London. The behavioural analysis of drug dependence has been his major research activity. He has studied a variety of drugs, but is best known for research on nicotine dependence on which he has worked for over 30 years. In the course of his career, Ian has worked with some of the Narcotic Farm Addiction Research Center scientists.


Professor Colin Drummond is Professor of Addiction Psychiatry at King’s College London. He is also past chair of the Faculty of Addictions of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Chair of the Medical Council on Alcohol, and Chair of the NICE guideline development group on management of harmful alcohol use and alcohol dependence. He performs regularly in South East London as a member of the 'From Here To Havana' Afro Cuban Jazz Band.

Professor Tim Hickman is a cultural historian whose research is in the literary and visual culture of the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is interested particularly in the social and political outcomes of contrasting constructions of 'modernity' between 1870 and 1920. He is also a jazz afficionado and musician.


Will Bartlett – Piano
Will read music at St. Peter's College, Oxford, specialising in composition and musical analysis as well as directing the Oxford University jazz orchestra. Based in London since 2004, he completed an MA in jazz performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, was awarded the Archer scholarship at Trinity college of music in 2005 and was pianist for the National Youth Jazz orchestra from 2005-2008. 

Jon Shenoy – Sax
Jon is a saxophonist, clarinettist and composer/arranger living in South London. A talented improviser and creative spirit, he plays a wide range of music and leads a number of celebrated ensembles. 

Pat Davey – Drums
Since training at Trinity College of Music, Pat has gone on to forge an eclectic & varied career as a drummer. His current projects include the critically acclaimed Tongue Fu spoken word collective and King Candy and the Sugar Push swing band. He is the co-founder of the Acrobat jazz trio and is also one of the stalwarts of Rhythms of the City samba band. 

Spencer Brown – Double Bass
After completing a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance at Guildhall School of Music, Spencer has been working in London as a professional bass player. 


Dr Sally Marlow is Engagement and Impact Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, and a BBC Radio Broadcaster.  Her most recent series was Storm and Stress, on adolescent mental health for BBC Radio 4. Her work involves bringing mental health messages and science to the attention of the public for critical debate and discussion. In 2017 she presented the critically acclaimed Hitting the High Notes for BBC Radio 3, which told the story of the jazz musicians who were patients at the Lexington Narcotic Hospital in the post war period.