A new, free exhibition (curated by Transform trustee and author Mike Jay) is opening tomorrow at the Wellcome Collection in London and will be running until February the 27th 2011. The exhibition will explore the role of mind-altering drugs in our history.
With the illicit drug trade estimated by the UN at $320 billion (£200bn) a year and new drugs constantly appearing on the streets and the internet, it can seem as if we are in the grip of an unprecedented level of addiction. Yet the use of psychoactive drugs is nothing new, and indeed our most familiar ones - alcohol, coffee, tobacco - have all been illegal in the past.
From ancient Egyptian poppy tinctures to Victorian cocaine eye drops, Native American peyote rites to the salons of the French Romantics, mind-altering drugs have a rich history. 'High Society' will explore the paths by which these drugs were first discovered - from apothecaries' workshops to state-of-the-art laboratories - and how they came to be simultaneously fetishised and demonised in today’s culture
A number of complimentary side events and discussions are also be organised. You can find out more here:
Transform's Danny Kushlick will lead a tour in February. Further details will be advertised nearer the time via our e-newsletter
An article on the exhibition in today's Independent can be read here