New Museum Exhibit Tackles Drugs

New Museum Exhibit Tackles Drugs
Posted by CN Staff on August 12, 2006 at 06:48:48 PT
By Josh Noel, Tribune Staff Reporter
Source: Chicago Tribune 
Illinois -- First there was "Just Say No." Then came the frying egg and a dire warning: "This is your brain on drugs."Now the anti-drug message is spread across 5,000 square feet at the Museum of Science and Industry, replete with depictions of a drug-addled brain, a mock methamphetamine lab and twisted wreckage from the World Trade Center.
The traveling exhibit, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is equal parts science, history and social commentary. Critics say it is propaganda that lacks balance, but thousands of schoolchildren in five cities have passed through its halls, including teen drug and alcohol offenders sentenced to see it by a Michigan judge."Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause" opens Friday and runs through Dec. 3.Peter Bensinger, a former DEA head who worked to bring the exhibit to Chicago, said it is a remedy for years of less than effective drug education efforts. The target audience, he said, is children ages 8 to 14."The brain doesn't look like a fried egg," said Bensinger, who led the agency from 1976 to 1981. "This is reaching out beyond a passive message on TV or a catchy phrase."We're not going to arrest our way out of the drug problem in America," he added. "We need education."The first scene visitors see after passing through the exhibit's double doors is jarring: a crumpled green Thunderbird that a man high on marijuana, cocaine, benzodiazepines and opiates slammed into a car carrying a woman and her three children. The woman died.From there, the exhibit chronicles the stages of the drug trade from production to trafficking to money laundering. A reproduction of a crack dealer's apartment includes cigarette butts on the floor, ripped wallpaper and a soiled diaper.Elsewhere there are faux heroin and cocaine production plants, a scientific look at how drugs affect the body and "The Chicago Story," which chronicles the local drug war by detailing advances in drug-busting technology and major arrests over the decades.That section also offers visitors the opportunity to watch unsuspecting museum patrons with a police camera mounted in the lobby--the same kind used to track drug deals in high-crime neighborhoods.What often attracts the most attention, organizers say, is the "Lost Talent" portion--photographs of people killed by drugs, ranging from teenagers to rock stars. There is also a slide show of photos of people whose deaths are linked to drugs in some way.Among them is Jay Balchunas, a Wisconsin Department of Justice investigator who was killed in 2004 in a gas station robbery while on his way to a drug investigation. Balchunas' sister Linda Lamm, 34, of New Berlin, Wis., took her two sons to tour the exhibit."I know not to do any of that stuff," said Andy Lamm, 8, as he looked over "Breaking the Cycle," a history of law enforcement's pursuit of illegal drugs. "Don't do drugs."A heavy effort is made to link drugs to terrorism, and near an enormous image of Osama bin Laden it is noted that Al Qaeda has thrived in the drug trade. But the connection isn't always as clear: In the "Impact on the World" display, images from the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks sit beside a photo described as "addicts getting high."Even Bensinger had a hard time explaining it.The exhibit also includes browned and distorted pieces of the World Trade Center, which sit in the middle of the hall beside pieces of the Pentagon.The link between drugs and those pieces of wreckage seems circuitous at best, leading critics to say the exhibit is more like propaganda than an objective treatment of the topic.An A-list of visitors came out for Thursday's opening, including DEA Administrator Karen Tandy, Mayor Richard Daley, Police Supt. Philip Cline and former Chicago Cub Ryne Sandberg, whose foundation is a sponsor, as is the McCormick Tribune Foundation."Kids are getting all kinds of misinformation out there, from their friends, from legalizers, from the Internet," Tandy said "These are the real facts about the consequences of drugs. ... Kids will get their one-stop shopping here real fast."If you go:"Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause"Where: Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive.Cost: Free with regular admission, which is $11 for adults, $9.50 for seniors and $7 for children age 3-11.Hours: Regular museum hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.Runs: Through Dec. 3.Information: (773) 684-1414 or Note: Aimed at children, displays show impact on everyday people, crime, terrorism.Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)Author:  Josh Noel, Tribune Staff ReporterPublished: August 11, 2006Copyright: 2006 Chicago Tribune CompanyContact: ctc-TribLetter Tribune.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:DEA Museum Drug-Terror Connection Disputed Links Terror, Drug Traffic Shows Ties Between Terrorism, Drugs
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Comment #20 posted by Toker00 on August 13, 2006 at 05:23:54 PT
On cnn yesterday...
Did you guys see the lady Lawyer who got shot by the cops at a demonstration (I only caught one bit of it) with one of those bag things, right on the hip? Then in the forehead? Then the video of the PIGS laughing their asses off, on video, and being complete Human Asses? Tell me I'm not the only one who saw a flash of this.Where was the exhibit of all the damage caused by alcohol in the First Prohibition? Where was the exhibit of the battered women and children due to the Drug ALCOHOL? Oh yeah. That exhibit would include some families of the DEA. Wouldn't want those little secrets to get out, huh?Peace. Toke.
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Comment #19 posted by legalizeit on August 13, 2006 at 00:16:47 PT
A once-great museum surrenders to propagandists
I've been to that museum twice in my lifetime. It does have some incredible exhibits, including a simulation of an underground coal mining operation. But this kowtowing to corporate and government interests sickens me. It's akin to how the Smithsonian has huge exhibits praising Thomas Edison for "lighting" the Industrial Revolution, while Nikola Tesla, whose three groundbreaking inventions - the AC motor, the modern system of AC power transmission, and radio - really got the Industrial Revolution going, has a humble exhibit of personal effects in a hallway near a restroom.While there are masses of Sheeple who gobble this crap up as gospel truth, the number of skeptics and cynics, who doubt what mass media (which museums are technically a part of) and the government say, is growing.The Chicago MSI, as I recall, has a huge permanent exhibit dedicated to the human body and health. I just wonder if they have an objective display on medical MJ in there. If not, a huge credibility issue is brewing and the museum administration should be held accountable.An NPR reporter on 9/11 conspiracy theories summed things up well last week when he said, "Regardless of the plausibility of the theories, conspiracy theories proliferate in times when there is widespread mistrust of the government." I couldn't have said it better.I hope that if this exhibit travels from museum to museum, that museums with competent administration will reject it and expose it as the corporate neocon mouthpiece that it is. Museums are supposed to be objective and truthful places of learning, not editorialized jungles of propaganda. If I paid an admission fee to get in there, I'd demand my money back.(It sure stinks of a greed operation to me... 11 bucks to get in plus another 12 for parking (in '91 it was 6 bucks/free parking.) Also, admission on Thursdays used to be free but now just a handful of days per year are free.)23 bucks to see carefully crafted government propaganda? No Thanks!
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Comment #18 posted by Wayne on August 12, 2006 at 21:45:09 PT
what did they expect?
They're ashamed of the exhibit, so apparently now it's not open to anyone unless they're forced to go there? That being the 8-12 year old schoolkids forced to go there by their neurotic teachers, and the pot-smoking teenagers who are sentenced to attend it.It figures. Nobody in their right mind would willingly pay money to see this exhibit. It's exactly like Michael Moore said in 'Roger & Me' about another failed museum exhibit: "I guess no one really wants to see a tribute to human tragedy."
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Comment #17 posted by ekim on August 12, 2006 at 10:30:40 PT
The target audience, children ages 8 to 14 yrs old, August 11, 2006 Museum of Science and Industry embarrassed by DEA Exhibit There were no signs in the museum today saying that the exhibit existed, nor was it on the map. I had to ask for directions and finally found it -- accessing it the only way you can, by turning a hard right at the top of the second escalator, go through Networld, and the World Live Theatre, and the Whispering Gallery (ah, memories), turn right through Imaging, and then finally a left into the exhibit (which has warning sign at the door saying it might not be appropriate for children).
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Comment #16 posted by goneposthole on August 12, 2006 at 09:32:38 PT
follow the money
More like cell phones are linked to terrorism more so than cannabis use or real drugs. There are a few Texans in Michigan right now who purchased 30 day cell phones for some suspect activity.Cell phones are the culprits in many car accidents."A study from researchers at the University of Utah, published in the summer 2006 issue of Human Factors, the quarterly journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, concludes that talking on a cell phone while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk, even if the phone is a hands-free model. An earlier study by researchers at the university found that motorists who talked on hands-free cell phones were 18 percent slower in braking and took 17 percent longer to regain the speed they lost when they braked." gas is supporting terrorism. It has been postulated that the oil companies may have hired the terrorist to have a direct effect on the price of oil. Oil companies do stand to gain the mostest with all of this war on terror.With Exxon/Mobil making insane profits in a single quarter, they are then suspect too.Cannabis use is a scapegoat. The real demons are going scott-free.500 billion dollars spent in Iraq isn't chump change. It can't go on. Placing the blame on cannabis is a ruse, a red herring, a lie, a falsification by none other than the prevaricators themselves.They can't be happy. They're just confused.
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on August 12, 2006 at 09:20:29 PT
If this were simply the facts
and not propaganda...meant to influence, it would be an exhibit...with just the facts...that would be more aptly called What They've Actually Done.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on August 12, 2006 at 09:16:31 PT
This piece is just more of the same ole same ole
following the government/prohibitionist lead. This is the hometown of the event and they didn't even bother to interview Pete or anyone who wasn't lockstep into the hypno room.The Washington Post piece is much, much better and it smacks of real journalism.
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on August 12, 2006 at 09:12:09 PT
They should be a laughingstock...
but they will capture many weak minds.
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Comment #12 posted by charmed quark on August 12, 2006 at 09:12:01 PT
Oh, my, God!
I can't beleive they want to remind us of the link the DEA tried to forge between marijuana and 9/11. Have they no shame?
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on August 12, 2006 at 09:11:26 PT
Good study in propaganda technique.
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Comment #10 posted by mai_bong_city on August 12, 2006 at 09:08:22 PT
that is sad
i grew up going to the museums of chicago on a regular basis, msi used to be just fantastic, and on the whole i'm sure they are but this just throws out science or rather gives not a complete view of the matter and that isn't the msi i knew.
but on a good note, i heard they're bringing king tut and stuff back to the field museum of natural history, which also rocks. i miss the art museum exhibits and the planeterium.
but i got nature out my front window now, and that beats all.
peaceful weekend, cn'ers.
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on August 12, 2006 at 09:04:00 PT
Hypnosis technique.
"Lined up syringes and a gun?"
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on August 12, 2006 at 09:02:57 PT
This is Big.
Real journalism and this is not an underground newspaper...not that the give aways haven't been wonderful. They've helped so much.Thank you, Pete, and the DrugWarRanters over at Pete's place! 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on August 12, 2006 at 08:42:56 PT
This Picture Is Too Much
 I can't believe this picture. Lined up syringes and a gun?
I can'r see the picture very well to see what else is on that table. I have noticed that MSNBC is doing a lot of prison shows and I wondered why. I don't watch them because it shows really bad people who should be in jail but it could create hate towards people who have a drug problem and that upsets me.
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Comment #6 posted by mayan on August 12, 2006 at 08:08:31 PT
MSI, not CSI!
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Comment #5 posted by mayan on August 12, 2006 at 08:07:16 PT
Thanks, ekim!
I was going to propose a boycott of the MSI but it sounds like the museum is ashamed of "Target America" and has tried to hide it so folks can't find it!Anyway, let's let Chicago CSI know that we know the war on drugs is a failure and a fraud and that 9/11 was an inside job!Contact MSI Chicago: Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause:
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on August 12, 2006 at 08:04:04 PT
Thanks Ekim
I found this link on: http://www.DrugWarRant.comYou can see pictures of the exhibit.
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Comment #3 posted by ekim on August 12, 2006 at 07:51:12 PT
Pete at drug war rant is doing a protest to this
please see his site for informationa on his protest in front of the Museum
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on August 12, 2006 at 07:38:13 PT
A Question
In this museum do they have a display of the Prison Industrial Complex that benefits from having this war on drugs? If we aren't the biggest prison system we sure are close to number one in the world. That is the most important part of the reality of this DEA Museum in my opinion. I wonder if they talk or show stats on how many people have been jailed for having a drug problem. I would really appreciate seeing the whole and truthful story so we can understand the impact of this war on humanity.
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on August 12, 2006 at 07:27:50 PT
"We need education."
"We're not going to arrest our way out of the drug problem in America," he added. "We need education."Yes, you most certainly do.9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB - OUR NATION IS IN PERIL:
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