DEA’s traveling exhibit “Drugs: Costs and Consequences” will explore the science behind drug addiction, drug cartels, narcoterrorism, and the myriad of costs of illegal drugs – to individuals, local communities, American society as a whole, and the world. It opens in Cedar Park, Texas at the Texas Museum of Science & Technology on September 22, 2017, and will run through June 30, 2018.
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. DEA’s Traveling Exhibit addresses prevention, treatment and law enforcement issues related to drugs in Texas and internationally as well as current neuroscience research aimed at understanding and breaking the cycle of drug abuse and addiction.
Despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans are not drug users, the costs to society – estimated at more than $300 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.
The DEA Traveling Exhibit began its national tour in 2002 and has been experienced by more than 22 million visitors in 15 cities across the country. DEA’s exhibit comes to Cedar Park, Texas, with newly expanded information specific to Central Texas. The Central Texas display looks at significant drug investigations impacting Central and South Texas.
“We are excited to see the DEA Traveling Exhibit on display in Cedar Park,” said Will R. Glaspy, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Houston Division. “The more we can educate parents and children from across the state on the dangers of drug abuse, the more we can help prevent the destructive impact that drugs have in our communities. This exhibit provides insight into DEA's fight against deadly drug trafficking organizations and the science behind the drugs that cost thousands of lives every year.”
“Drugs: Costs and Consequences” begins with an in-depth look at drug production, trafficking and money laundering—in an historical and present-day context—from trading opium on the Silk Road in the 1800s to the Colombian cocaine and Mexican methamphetamine trade that exists today. Visitors 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.
From there, the exhibit explores the devastating effects drugs have on our society. Visitors 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. Visitors view common patterns of brain activity in drug abusers 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 visitors to hear true stories of addiction and recovery from drug abusers themselves.
The exhibit touches upon the damage that drug production has on our environment, which is not often addressed including clear cutting of the rain forests in Central and South America to plant coca fields, destruction of natural forests in the U.S. to grow marijuana, and dumping of hazardous waste products into the water table after the manufacture of methamphetamine.
At the end of the exhibit, visitors 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.
“Drugs: Costs and Consequences” activities and displays are free with regular paid admission to the Texas Museum of Science & Technology. For more information, ticket prices, and group rates, visit www.TXMOST.org, firstname.lastname@example.org or contact (512) 961-5333. As a service to local school districts, reimbursement for school buses is available in limited quantity. First come, first serve.
For more information regarding the “Drugs: Costs and Consequences” exhibit visit www.drugexhibit.org. Additionally, parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com, and www.dea.gov.
Gala and Ceremony to be held Thursday Evening Sept. 21, 2017 at 7:30 PM Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to be held September 22, 2017 at 10:00 AM
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