Drugs: Costs & Consequences

Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause

Drugs: Costs & Consequences Frequently Asked Questions about the Exhibit

What is the exhibit?

Drugs: Costs & Consequences is a traveling exhibit from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

What are the exhibit dates and location?

The exhibit has been to sixteen cities. Presently, due to the pandemic, the exhibit has not been traveling, but we are now booking future venues. For information on previous venues, visit the past locations page.

What is this exhibit about?

As a one-of-a-kind exhibit, Drugs: Costs and Consequences is a historic and contemporary overview of how illegal drugs, the drug trade, and drug abuse affect individuals and society and what visitors can do to be part of the solution. This comprehensive exhibit includes areas on how drugs are created, how they come into the U.S., the effects of the illegal drug trade on people and communities, how law enforcement works to stem the tide, and more. There is a customized area that tells the local story of law enforcement and outreach in the host venue’s city and region. But the exhibit is more than that. It also covers how parents can be aware, how illegal drugs affect the environment and our health and bodies, and how we can have hope and show action in prevention efforts, treatment, and in our relationships with individuals, families, and communities. It is an excellent exhibit for families, teens, school children, law enforcement, elected officials, and everyone.

What is in the exhibit?

Through immersive dioramas, artifacts, photographs, videos, and interactive areas, a visit to the exhibit provides a deep learning environment to explore the global and local issues surrounding the costs and consequences of drugs on society. More than 500 images and over 150 objects and 32 video/interactive stations present the content in compelling manners with diversity of exhibit components to make the experiences in the exhibit diverse, depending upon the content being explored. The exhibit is a blend of history, science and biology, geography, social studies, and civics.

Exhibit History

The traveling exhibit began in 2002 under the name Target America as an opportunity to explore and educate the public about the connections between drug trafficking and terrorism in the months following the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country. Expanded in 2004, the exhibit provided a place for students, teachers, and parents to explore physical displays on these issues and start conversations about what each person can do to address the drug problem. Since then, the exhibit has been refurbished and the content revamped as it traveled to eighteen cities across America, educating millions of people with a special focus on school children, primarily 4th grade and higher and families. There have been many national partners from the beginning, include federal agencies, private foundations, and corporations that have helped develop the exhibit and insure that it would be successful. Our key major partner which helped to develop and travel the exhibit from its inception has been the Drug Enforcement Administration Educational Foundation. The exhibit venues represent some of the top science centers in America as well as other places spurred by interested individuals and organizations, which partnered with the DEA to bring the exhibit to their cities.

The exhibit provides a host venue the opportunity to lead the efforts in drug education and prevention in its community.

  • Drug abuse and addiction harms individuals, society, and the environment in many ways.
  • Science knowledge and innovation play important roles in understanding and breaking the cycle of drug abuse and addiction.
  • Drug prevention, treatment, and enforcement are all needed to stop drug abuse and addiction.

How much did it cost?

Drugs: Costs & Consequences was developed over a 3-year period between 2002 and 2004. The total DEA cost of the project was approximately $1.5 million. Funds were provided by the DEA Educational Foundation to support the traveling of the exhibit to communities around the country.

Who helped develop this exhibit?

Drugs: Costs & Consequences is the result of collaboration between many federal government agencies including: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, The National Guard, The Office of National Drug Control Policy, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

What is the DEA Museum?

The DEA Museum, established in 1999, is a public outreach component of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Through collecting, preserving, and sharing the history of DEA, the Museum educates citizens about DEA’s law enforcement work as well as the history of drugs in America, the production and disruption of the flow of illegal drugs into our country, the properties and nature of drugs, use and addiction, drug prevention, and more. The Museum is dedicated to telling the stories of the men and women of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The Museum presents permanent and changing educational exhibits, interactive content, artifacts of all types, lectures, programs for schools and scouts, specialized tours, and panel discussions. The DEA Museum is opened to the public and is located in Arlington, Virginia.

Through its archives and artifact collections the DEA Museum serves as the repository of important objects of history and as a resource for those studying in the field. Those who engage with the DEA Museum will learn about the drug trade, its negative effects on individuals and society, and how DEA partners around the world in the fight against illicit drugs and those who perpetuate the production and commerce of harmful and illegal drugs into the United States.

What is the DEA Educational Foundation?

The DEA Educational Foundation (DEAEF) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit educational organization established in 2001 whose goal is to educate the public on the many costs and consequences of illegal drugs in our society. The Foundation’s work supports the DEA Museum, its traveling exhibit, and community outreach projects. The Foundation conducts educational programs and symposia, works with international partners on prevention efforts, and manages youth after-school programming in over fifty cities across the United States to provide children with positive and healthy alternatives to drug abuse.

The DEAEF Board of Directors is comprised of a mix of corporate executives, former government leaders, scientists and philanthropists who are committed to helping America learn about the history of drug abuse, providing positive prevention programming to communities and assisting DEA with reducing future drug use and abuse. .

Where else is it scheduled to go?

Because of the pandemic, the exhibit has not traveled during the past year. We are now accepting inquiries on hosting the exhibit in late 2021 and beyond.

Where else has the exhibit been?

September 11, 2002 - August 30, 2003
DEA Museum, Arlington, VA

September 11, 2003 - March 23, 2004
Museum of Nature & Science, Dallas, Texas

April 10, 2004 - August 22, 2004
Air and Space Museum, Omaha, NE

September 10, 2004 - March 19, 2005
One Times Square, New York, NY

April 2, 2005 - October 2, 2005
New Detroit Science Center, Detroit, MI

August 11, 2006 - December 3, 2006
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL

December 15, 2006 – December 2009
Navy Pier, Chicago, IL

October 2, 2008 – May 3, 2009
California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA

March 3, 2010 – November 14, 2010
Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans, LA

September 16, 2011 – January 1, 2013
Museum of Science & Industry, Tampa, FL

February 10, 2014 – September 1, 2014
Maryland Science Center, Baltimore, MD

September 1, 2014 – November 1, 2015
Discovery Station, Hagerstown, MD

January 12, 2016 – September 3, 2016
Leesburg, VA

September 29, 2016 – January 15, 2017
Museum of Discovery & Science, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

February 4, 2017 – September 3, 2017
Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, Mobile, AL

September 22, 2017 - June 30, 2018
Texas Museum of Science & Technology, Cedar Park, TX

January 26, 2019 - December 8, 2019
New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, Albuquerque, NM

February 21, 2020 - June 21, 2020
Cuyahoga County Public Library System, Cleveland, OH

September 8, 2022 – January 15, 2023
West Virginia State Museum, Charleston, WV

February 9, 2023 – September 6, 2023
Thronateeska Science Museum, Albany, GA

September 30, 2023 – June 2, 2024
The Health Museum, Houston, TX

How can I find out more?

(202) 307-3463