Tuesday, January 15, 2019

DEA Museum Exhibit Targets New Mexico During Cannabis Legalization Debate

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"Drugs: Costs & Consequences" is a traveling exhibition from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Museum and the DEA Education Foundation. Formerly known as Target America, the exhibition has traveled to 16 cities and has been viewed by more than 22 million visitors. 

The DEA has timed the exhibit be on display in Albuquerque at the sametime the State's Legislature is to be debating proposed legislation to legalize recreational cannabis use in New Mexico.  The exhibit will be open daily in Albuquerque from January 26 through September 30, 2019.  

Margie Marino, director of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science said, "the DEA drug exhibition provides a very powerful message on the destructive impacts of drug use in our society, on families, health, our environment and community safety”. “As the depth and breadth of this epidemic has come into focus in New Mexico, the museum was eager to partner with the DEA and our many engaged local partners to lay bare the heinous impact these drugs are having on our society,” said Marino.

The Natural History Museum's website says, as with past exhibits, the “Drugs” exhibition aims to connect with a broad group of organizations in the local community. These organizations represent the private sector, non-profit organizations, schools/school systems, law enforcement, federal agencies, state agencies, medical fields, prevention and treatment organizations, faith-based organizations, and others.

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The DEA Task Force has meet three times in Albuquerque to date and will continue to meet throughout the duration of the exhibition. The Task Force is establishing a speakers list as a resource for local media and working to create a community event for those impacted by addiction and will facilitate a space near the exhibit where people can share their stories.  

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Division (SAMHSA) of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration will reimburse transportation costs for student field trips to the upcoming exhibition Drugs: Costs & Consequences: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. 

“We want as many New Mexico middle & high school students as possible to see this eye-opening exhibition about the devastating costs of addiction in the hope that this experience will prevent future drug use, encourage drug users to seek help, and ultimately prevent future deaths from drug abuse,” said Margie Marino, Director of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (NMMNHS).

“The reimbursement costs will be applicable to  groups of students in the 4th grade and beyond,” Marino said.

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As part of the exhibition contract, the Drug Enforcement Administration will contribute up to $40,000 in funds to reimburse transportation costs for student bus trips. The exhibit is broken into categories such as “The Cost of Drugs,” “Drugs and the Body,” “Drugs and the Environment” and “Breaking the Cycle.” The DEA also runs its online program “Drugs 360” through the Albuquerque Public Schools.

Contact your Child's school to find out if they will be taken to see this "reefer madness" style exhibit, as the DEA customizes each exhibition in each state to target certain policy topics, like legalization of cannabis.