News Release
September 30, 2008
Contact: SA Sarah Pullen
Public Information Officer
(213) 621-6827

Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause
Opens Oct. 2 in Los Angeles

SEP 30 -Los Angeles — Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause is a powerful exhibit, developed by the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum, designed to explore the science behind illegal drug abuse and addiction and the myriad costs of illegal drugs – to individuals, American society and the world. The exhibit opens October 2, 2008 at the California Science Center and runs through May 3, 2009. Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause began its national tour in 2002 and comes to Los Angeles with newly expanded section specific to Southern California. The “Southern California Story” section looks at prevention, treatment and law enforcement issues related to drugs in Southern California as well as current neuroscience research aimed at understanding and breaking the cycle of drug abuse and addiction.

Most Americans are unaware of the science behind the damaging effects of illegal drugs on the mind and body, or of the other tremendous costs associated with the production, sale and use of illegal drugs. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans are not drug users, the costs to society – estimated at more than $180 billion a year – are paid by the public in many ways. This includes the cost of lost productivity of users in the workplace, their health care, criminal justice costs, child welfare costs, and the impact their drug use has on everyone’s health and safety.
““We are pleased to bring Target America to Los Angeles and are proud that the exhibit’s newly expanded section which highlights the neuroscience of drug addiction and its devastating impact on health will debut here,” said Jeffrey Rudolph, President and CEO of the California Science Center.
Target America begins with an in-depth look at drug production, trafficking and money laundering—in a historical and present-day context—from trading opium on the Silk Road in the 1800s to the Columbian cocaine trade that exists today. Guests will also discover the many intricate ways different drugs are produced throughout the world. Displays illustrating drug production include an actual jungle coca processing lab discovered and confiscated in South America, a recreated Afghan heroin factory, and a toxic methamphetamine hotel “cook” room.

Displays that focus on trafficking show how drugs are smuggled in the soles of shoes; soaked into fabrics; or even swallowed by drug “mules,” people who perform the dangerous and sometimes lethal task of swallowing balloons full of drugs to transport the illegal cargo. The exhibit also explains where drug money goes and how it is secretly laundered.

From there, the exhibit explores the devastating effects drugs have on our society. Guests view actual wreckage from a drug-related car accident, a tenement crack-house environment, and the bedroom of a young teen that has accessed a Web site that sells illegal drugs.

The terrible toll drugs take on the body is highlighted as well. Guests view common patterns of brain activity in addicts and learn how MRI machines are helping scientists uncover the secrets of addiction and recovery. An interactive display allows guests to compare the effects of certain “rewards” in a normal brain versus an addicted brain, and discover how addictions take control of the brain’s reward circuit, gradually altering motivation and desire. Another interactive display allows guests to hear true stories of addiction and recovery from addicts themselves.

The exhibit touches upon the damage that drug production has on our environment, which is not often addressed. This includes the clear cutting of the rain forests in Central and South America to plant coca fields, the destruction of natural forests in the U.S. to grow marijuana and the dumping of hazardous waste products into the water table after the manufacture of methamphetamine.
At the end of the exhibit, guests reach the exhibit’s “Discovery Corner,” an area that offers many resources on how the cycle of drug abuse and drug-related violence can be broken with awareness, outreach and treatment.

"Target America is a powerful display showing how drugs eat away not just at individual users, but entire families, communities and our nation,” DEA Administrator (TBA) said. “Drugs cost all of us dearly: from financing terrorism and causing crime, to increased health care costs, danger on the highways, economic loss and family breakdown. I encourage the citizens of Los Angeles to visit the exhibit and learn how they can help end the heartbreak of drugs."

Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause was developed in partnership with The AFFNA DEA Museum Foundation, The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, The National Guard, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, The Office of National Drug Control Policy and The Partnership for a Drug Free America.

Due to images and content that may be too intense for small children, the Science Center advises parental discretion when bringing young children to this exhibit.

About the California Science Center
The California Science Center’s mission is as follows:” We aspire to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people’s lives.”

The Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park, Los Angeles. Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm except, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission to Science Center exhibits is free. IMAX tickets vary from $8.00 for adults to $4.75 for children 4-12. For recorded information on show times, phone (213) 744-7400. Tickets are available at the Box Office or online at For advance IMAX ticket purchases, group rates, or to make reservations for any visiting group of 15+ (required), call (213) 744-2019. Parking is available in the guest lot at Figueroa and 39th/Exposition Park Drive at $6 per car. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible. Proceeds from the IMAX Theater support California Science Center exhibits and education programs.

USDOJ.GOV Privacy Policy