Warwick Sweeney: Hardy Tree

This is an extremely interesting book by Warwick Sweeney, with a foreword by Pr Andrew Lees, on Dr Dent’s treatment of apomorphine, on William Burroughs, and on the evolution of the medical area since the fifties in the domain of drugs and the changes of the nature of relation towards patients in the economical context. Hence, the lightening it brings on those latest decades allows a better understanding of the present goals, very useful to health workers and to potential or actual patients as well.

The edition itself by Bracket Press is very good quality, containing many black and white and color illustrations and original documents, for a cheap price compared to the result.

Isabelle Aubert-Baudron


HARDY TREE – A Doctor’s Bible
by J. Warwick Sweeney

The current rises in anxiety, depression, mental ill-health and addiction are out of control. In the middle of the 20th century, John Yerbury Dent, a pioneering London doctor from the ‘do no harm’ tradition, campaigned for a deeper understanding of these ailments, better treatments and policies. Few listened.

Hardy Tree is a biographical novel written by Dent’s grandson, J Warwick Sweeney, and plots the life of Dent using the doctor’s own writings; his unpublished memoirs and correspondence.

Towards the end of Dent’s life an anonymous and unfulfilled literary genius suffering from heroin addiction came to London. Knocking at death’s door he was sent to knock on Dent’s. His name: William Seward Burroughs.

Hardy Tree is the previously untold story of Burroughs’ rebirth and the crucial part played by his doctor’s compassion, and the lost art of healing. An inspirational and timely story.

Production details: 215mm x 153mm, 448 pages, litho printed on Munken Premium Cream 90gsm, illustrated (colour + b/w), black endpapers, sewn-section binding with fully blocked cover and printed dust jacket. Limited edition of 500 hand-numbered copies. Weight: 1kg approx.
ISBN 978-1-9996740-3-8. Publishing date: 23 August 2019.
RRP: £30.00 + P&P

This book is only available to pre-order from www.bracketpress.co.uk
at special pre-order price: £23 + P&P.

The Guardian: William Burroughs’s drugs cure inspires Alzheimer’s researcher


Author’s search in South America for the shamans’ plant hallucinogenic yagé and use of apomorphine to control his addiction leads neurologist to call for clinical trials

The Observer, Sunday 26 October 2014


A shaman starting a yagé ceremony in Colombia. Photograph: Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images

Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease are the perennial neuro-degenerative afflictions which remind an ageing population that the human brain is still the final frontier of modern medicine.

Now, more than ever, the conundrum of the brain is a profound and fascinating mystery that is inspiring a new generation of graduate neuroscientists and attracting glossy funding for state-of-the-art research. But some of the advances in developing, for example, a cure for Parkinson’s are not hi-tech and have come via unlikely, even exotic, routes. Consider, for instance, the strange tale of Williams Burroughs, “the dead man’s vine” and the British medical establishment.

In 1953 the celebrated author of The Naked Lunch, a countercultural guru and lifelong junkie whose centenary is celebrated this year, travelled to South America on a quest for “the liana of the dead”, the plant source of ayahuasca, also known as yagé, a natural drug whose hallucinogenic properties, used by shamans, had long been known to European explorers. “All agree,” wrote one, “in the account of their sensations under its effects – alterations of cold and heat, fear and boldness, everything joyous and magnificent.”

Burroughs’s quest for “the final fix” was occasionally nerve-racking. After one infusion of yagé, he told his friend, the poet Allen Ginsberg: “I was completely delirious for four hours. The old bastard who prepared this potion specialises in poisoning gringos.”

The trip accelerated Burroughs’s acute drug dependence. In 1956, conscious that he might otherwise die, he went to London to be treated with apomorphine, a non-narcotic derivative of morphine, by Dr John Dent, a medical maverick and coincidentally the secretary of the British Society for the Study of Addiction.

Dent, who had begun his career in 1918 treating drunks around King’s Cross in London, had pioneered the use of apomorphine as a cure for alcoholism, reporting his findings in the British Journal of Inebriety in 1931. Acting on an inspired hunch, Dent applied his treatment to the drug-addicted Burroughs, who reported extraordinary results. “Apomorphine,” he wrote later, “acts on the back brain to normalise the bloodstream in such a way that the enzyme system of addiction is destroyed.”

Burroughs, a languid American beanpole with thin lips and pale blue eyes, attributed his international literary success to Dent’s lifesaving treatment. “At the time I took the apomorphine cure,” he said, “I had no claims to call myself a writer and my creativity was limited to filling a hypodermic. The entire body of work on which my present reputation is based was produced after the apomorphine treatment, and would never have been produced if I had not taken the cure and stayed off junk.”

Soon after Burroughs completed his treatment, Dent’s hunch about apomorphine’s remarkable effect on the addict’s brain was scientifically confirmed. But, perhaps because Dent was an outsider, with many in the medical hierarchy opposed to his radical-empiricist methods, his discovery was never fully adopted as a routine cure for addiction.

There was, however, a new generation of young, anti-establishment, counter-cultural neurologists coming up through the profession. One of these, a young medical student named Andrew Lees, just happened to be a Burroughs aficionado and had become fascinated by the role of apomorphine in curbing the brain’s propensity to addiction.

Today Lees is an internationally renowned professor of neurology at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, the author of Alzheimer’s, the Silent Plague (Penguin), and one of Britain’s leading experts in the treatment of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

In the 1970s, inspired by Dent and Burroughs, Lees and some colleagues began to experiment with ayahuasca, also exploring the use of apomorphine in neurology, especially in the treatment of Parkinson’s.

“Apomorphine,” Lees told the Observer last week, “is free from narcotic effects and works on the brain by opening the dopamine receptor lock. Burroughs spoke about how it led to enhanced perspective and increased libido.”

At first Lees pioneered his work through self-experimentation. “It was with some trepidation,” he reports, “that I injected myself with 1mg of apomorphine” as the prelude to a fuller clinical investigation.

Later, trials Lees conducted at the Middlesex hospital showed that continuous infusions of apomorphine dramatically alleviated unwanted “switch-offs” (the process whereby patients on long-term L-Dopa treatment suddenly lose the beneficial effects of their medication). As a result, apomorphine became licensed for routine treatment of late-stage Parkinson’s.

Today, however, Lees believes there is an urgent need for more clinical trials: “Drugs like apomorphine should be reinvestigated as an alternative to buprenorphine and methadone in heroin addiction.”

A persistent side-effect of L-Dopa (a naturally occurring amino acid derived from beans) in the treatment of Parkinson’s is its tendency, in a minority of cases, to sponsor addiction with highly disturbing symptoms (binge-eating, obsessive sexual fantasies, reckless gambling, hallucinations and even cross-dressing).

To counter such side-effects, Lees has returned to Burroughs’s accounts of his apomorphine use and says he has found Burroughs’s writing “highly instructive”. Burroughs, for instance, denounces the “vested interests” of the pharmaceutical industry for spending “billions [of dollars] on tranquillisers of dubious value, but not 10 cents for a drug [apomorphine] that has unlimited potential, not only in treating addiction, but in handling the whole problem of anxiety”.

But there is a problem. Where Lees in the 1970s could freely self-experiment at his own risk, new rules and procedures now inhibit this avenue of research. “There’s an urgent need for fresh trials,” says Lees, “in the use of apomorphine for dealing with addiction, but we are up against punitive and draconian legislation. The heroic era of neuropharmacological research has now vanished.”

Lees goes on: “The notion of the investigator as the most ethical first volunteer in clinical trials is now increasingly denigrated by some lawyers and editors of medical journals. Some neuroscientists are being driven underground here.”

Partly from these inhibitions, meanwhile, the use of apomorphine has fallen out of favour. Under-recognised and under-used, the drug that saved Burroughs has become just a curiosity of avant-garde literary life when it could, potentially, become a weapon in the long battle to ameliorate the torments of Britain’s Parkinson’s sufferers.

As Lees says: “Apomorphine has never been fully tested in the way Burroughs advocated.”

On apomorphine cure, Dr John Dent’s life and work:  Apomorphine Versus Addiction Warwick Sweenay’s site (2014)

Warwick Sweenay’site: Apomorphine Versus Addiction



Apomorphine Versus Addiction


 The purpose of this site  -AvA is educational, devoted to information surrounding the topic of drug dependency that, directly or indirectly, affects us all. All opinions are offered in the non-confrontational spirit of greater understanding, but the facts are commended to science and, in particular, the Humanities.

Anybody is free to comment on any of the issues raised and contribute with info, articles, etc.

It may be of interest to those who strive to reduce the strain on society of addiction that in the 1950s American doctors envied their British counterparts for having escaped, relatively, from the ills that stem from endemic drug use: drug cartels, crime, recidivism,  and a range of socio-economic problems, including poverty, illness and premature death. Sadly, no such distinction can be made today.

The burden of this on society is catastrophic, and, on our health services, crippling. Our legislators have systematically and progressively failed to combat the rise of addiction and continue in denial. Therefore, if you have ever been interested in the political and ethical dimensions surrounding British drugs policy either from a medical, scientific or legislative position, then this site may be of interest to you.

There is no apology for the detail because its concerns are profound and contrast radically with the scant understanding previously directed towards this subject. However, if you are busy, you can start at the  AFTERWORD and refer back to the hyperlinked points.


“It is what we think we know that keeps us from learning”
— Claude Bernard, French Physiologist

Interzone Academy 2011: Recherche médicale

Mise à jour de la page de recherche médicale:

"The Patient" Dot Zero

« The Patient » by Agent Zero

Cette page contient des documents publiés à partir de la fin des années quatre-vingt dix dans le site Interzone Academy, hébergé sur Geocitie et supprimé en octobre 2009, ainsi que tous les sites hébergés gratuitement par cet hébergeur.

Voir également la page

Interzone Economy également remise à jour et hébergée aujourd’hui dans le site www.inter-zone.org.



Roger Holden: Alternative, Affordable Treatment for Feline Leukemia
The « Burroughs’ White Cat » Challenges the Board
(Avril 2001)

Apomorphine et dossier désintoxication:

Intoxication aux opiacés: Quelques suggestions du docteur

Dr Dolophine: Rapport de Tasmanie – Août 1998 Une réaction à l’article

0110: La méthadone en question

Cure d’apomorphine du Dr John Dent

Apomorphine: présentation : Isabelle Aubert-Baudron

Protocole de la cure d’apomorphine du Dr Dent, Ian Sommerville, traduction Isabelle Aubert-Baudron

Une lettre de Burroughs sur l’apomorphine, envoyée avec le protocole de la cure

Un article sur l’apomorphine paru dans le magazine « Doctor », joint à la lettre de Burroughs

Une lettre envoyée au Dr Martensen-Larsen, qui applique la cure au Danemark et qui est cité dans l’article de « Doctor »

Réponse du Dr Martensen-Larsen

Documents du docteur Carl Carlsson

A double-blind cross-over study: apomorphine/placebo in chronic alcoholics by C. Carlsson, P. R. Johansson, B. Gullbergt Nordhemspolikliniken, Gothenburg, Sweden

A Comparison of the Effects of Propranolol and Diazepam in Alcoholics by Carl Carlsson M.D. and Bengt-Goran Fasth Ph.D.

The Psychological Effects of Propranolol in the Abstinence Phase of Chronic Alcoholics by CARL CARLSSON and TAGE JOHANSSON

Propranolol in the treatment of alcoholism: a review by C. CALSSON

Propranolol treatment in chronic alcoholic outpatients by C. CARLSSON


Henri Laborit: Sur la minaprine Agr 1240 (Cantor): Pour le meilleur des mondes – L’inhibition de l’action

Henri Laborit: Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture 1963: THE NEED FOR GENERALIZATION IN BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH : ROLE OF THE MATHEMATICAL THEORY OF ENSEMBLES Henri Laborit, . MD Centre d’Etudes Experimentales et Cliniques de Physio-Biologie, de Pharmacologie et d’Eutonologie de la Marine Nationale, Paris, France (Institute of General Semantics)

Roger Gentis: « N’Être » :

 » La Tangente »

 » L’orgasme, Dieu et le fric »

 » Des loups et des hommes »

 » Des loups, des corbeaux et des hommes  »


« Le Carrefour des Impasses »

Des implications en sciences humaines du travail de recherche de Michel Onfray sur Freud PDF