Target America Opens at the Museum of Science and Industry
CHICAGO, August 10, 2006—Most Americans are unaware of the tremendous costs associated with the production, sale and use of illegal drugs. The costs to society, estimated at more than $60 billion a year, are assumed by all of us in some way—in users’ lost productivity, their health care, criminal justice costs, child welfare costs and the impact drug use has on our own health and safety. Target America: Opening Eyes to the Danger Drugs Cause, presented by McDonald’s, is a powerful exhibit developed by the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum. It explores the devastating impact of illicit drugs on society and provides an important look at how everyone can work to break the cycle of drug abuse and drug-related violence.
The exhibit opens August 11, 2006 at the Museum of Science and Industry and will be on display through Dec. 3, 2006. Admission to the exhibit is included in the Museum’s general admission.
“We are pleased to bring the Target America exhibit to Chicago,” said David Mosena, President and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry. “Our mission to inspire and educate the community includes addressing tough topics that are real and relevant, and increasing understanding of issues like drug abuse. This exhibit not only teaches young people about the dangers of using drugs, but it also exposes them to the science and technology behind drugs and drug enforcement—the effects drugs have on the body, the chemists who work with the DEA to analyze drug samples, and the advanced technology that is used to apprehend those involved in the drug trade.”
The exhibit 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 a recreated jungle cocaine lab, an Afghan heroin factory and a toxic methamphetamine hotel “cook” room.
Displays that focus on trafficking show how drugs are smuggled in 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, very often through wire transfers, and sometimes to the financial benefit of terrorist groups around the world.
The opium and heroin connections of Afghanistan’s Taliban regime are explored, as are the interrelationships between drugs and terrorism. A special tribute to victims of September 11th includes a towering sculpture made from pieces of the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
A section special to the Chicago exhibit highlights the evolution of drug enforcement technology in Chicago, from an old-time Chicago Police Department “call box” to today’s high-tech POD surveillance cameras that transmit video wirelessly.
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 who 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 Karen Tandy 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 citizens of Chicago 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.
The exhibit is included in general admission to the Museum. Due to images and content that may be too intense for small children, the Museum advises parental discretion when bringing young children to this exhibit.
The Museum of Science and Industry's mission is to inspire the inventive genius in everyone by presenting captivating and compelling experiences that are real and educational. Located at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, the Museum is open every day of the year except December 25. Regular Museum hours are 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Museum will offer extended hours, until 5:30 p.m. each evening until Sept. 4. General admission pricing is $11 for adults, $9.50 for seniors and $7 for children ages 3 to 11. City of Chicago residents receive a discount on general admission. The Museum offers indoor parking and is accessible by CTA and Metra. The Museum is supported in part through the generosity of the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, visit the Museum's Web site at www.msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.