The latest exhibit at Houston-based The Health Museum is not only unique because it’s a traveling exhibit, but also for the solemn topic: the science of drug addiction and its lingering effects on individuals, society, families and communities.

“Drugs: Costs and Consequences” opened on Sept. 30 and is a collaboration between the Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA Museum and the DEA Educational Foundation. The exhibit has been traveling to different cities across the country since 2002, including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans and now, Houston.

The details:
  • Running now through June 4, 2024
  • 1515 Hermann Drive, Houston
  • Free (members, children under three, Thursdays from 2-7 p.m.); $8 (children ages 3-12, seniors 65 and older); $10 (adults)
About the exhibit

The exhibit is designed to open eyes to the science and facts behind drug abuse and misuse, particularly how addiction starts, the chemical imbalance it creates and how it affects the brain, body, families and communities. It contains artifacts, historical details, scientific content, videos and interactive stations, and is recommended for those in middle school and older, due to the graphic nature of some of the exhibits.

Despite being such a serious exhibit amongst other light-hearted ones, leadership at The Health Museum knew it was an important issue to display, especially because so much of it connects back to the mission of the museum.

“The Health Museum's mission is to foster wonder and curiosity about health, medical science and the human body. This whole exhibit is exactly a tie-in for that,” marketing manager Stephanie Wigginton said. “[Some] of our biggest things we do and focus on, the heart of the museum, are our educational and community outreach programs. With that in mind, we felt like this was an absolute perfect fit, to help educate our community.”

Why this is needed

Like most major cities, Houston has seen a rise in drug misuse, especially when it comes to drug-related deaths due to fentanyl. Based on this, certain aspects of the exhibit are changed to match what’s going on in the city it’s currently displayed in. Currently, the exhibit has testimonials and stories from local people who have been affected, including a 14-year-old boy from Cypress who died from fentanyl poisoning.

There are even replicas of these stories, such as a room in a house where a drug bust occurred, and a car that killed an entire family due to the driver being under the influence.

“We know that Houston, like every big city, has a drug misuse problem. It's prevalent. The DEA will tell you that they're out on the streets every single day,” Wigginton said.”Without education, for those out there thinking about buying or experimenting with drugs, without that education it is hard to stop what is happening.”

How the message is spread

To help get more students in to see the exhibit, the museum is currently offering a bus voucher program, where the cost of the bus transportation can be covered by the museum. This helps eliminate costs for schools that are struggling with taking kids on field trips.

The museum also has two dedicated tour managers for the exhibit that are on-hand to guide visitors through the exhibit.

Other ways the museum is promoting the exhibit include:
  • Monthly district nights to allow people in the district to come in after hours for free to view the exhibit
  • Monthly lecture series where experts will speak on certain aspects of the exhibit
  • Using their Doc Dissections program to dissect organs and see the effects that drugs can have on the body
“Drug misuse has such a prevalence in our community and in Houston as well. It's something we felt almost obligated to be able to put in there and inform people about at The Health Museum,” Wigginton said.

To learn more about the exhibit or to purchase tickets to see it for yourself, visit their website or stop by The Health Museum.

The above story was produced by Community Impact's Senior Multi Platform Journalist Sierra Rozen with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.