News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 02, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Roberto Bryan
Number: (504) 840-1360

DEA and the Louisiana State Museum Open Powerful New Exhibit
Exhibit from the Drug Enforcement Administration
explores the many costs and consequences of illegal drugs

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: from left to right : Joe Cook (General Manager FOX 8 WVUE), Bill Alden (President, DEA Educational Foundation), Michele M. Leonhart (Acting Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration) Fran Harding (Director, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention), Dr Wilson Compton (Deputy Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse), Eileen Sweeney (Head of Motorola Foundation), Jim Mears (VP of Motorola), Jim Bernazzani (President, The Youth Rescue Initiative)
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: from left to right : Joe Cook (General Manager FOX 8 WVUE), Bill Alden (President, DEA Educational Foundation), Michele M. Leonhart (Acting Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration) Fran Harding (Director, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention), Dr Wilson Compton (Deputy Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse), Eileen Sweeney (Head of Motorola Foundation), Jim Mears (VP of Motorola), Jim Bernazzani (President, The Youth Rescue Initiative)

MAR 02 -- The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) traveling museum exhibit, Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause, is coming to the Big Easy at the request of Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu. Installed at the Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint Building, the 10,000-square-foot exhibit opens on March 3 and runs through November 24. Target America explores the science behind illegal drug addiction and the myriad costs of illegal drugs—to individuals, American society, and the world.

“It is a privilege to bring DEA’s premier exhibit to one of America’s greatest cities, and to have it displayed in such an historic venue at the heart of New Orleans,” said Michele M. Leonhart, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “More than 15 million people of all ages have already visited Target America in other cities. Now, the people of the Crescent City will see for themselves how illicit drugs affect all Americans. It will open their eyes to the real story of how drugs are produced; the role of terrorists, traffickers, and gangs in the drug trade; the heartbreak drug addiction causes addicts and their families; and how the brave men and women of DEA are working with our law enforcement partners in every community to stem this cycle of violence and pain.”

Acting Administrator Leonhart addresses attendees at the Target America ribbon cutting ceremony.
Acting Administrator Leonhart addresses attendees at the Target America ribbon cutting ceremony.

Lieutenant Governor Landrieu sought the opportunity to display Target America in New Orleans. “ The national exhibit presented an opportunity to dramatize the impact of drugs in our own neighborhoods,” he said. “The Louisiana State Museum drew on its extensive collection of artifacts and curatorial expertise to produce the locally-themed exhibits. Meanwhile, the museum’s education staff has designed quality programs to reach children and families with a strong prevention message. It’s a great example of how our cultural institutions can address serious social issues and help build healthier communities.”

Despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans are not drug users, the costs to society – estimated at more than $180 billion a year – are paid by the public in many ways, including the cost of lost productivity of users at work, their health care, criminal justice costs, and child welfare costs.

Michele M. Leonhart, DEA Acting Administrator and SAC Jimmy S. Fox III, New Orleans Field Division
Michele M. Leonhart, DEA Acting Administrator and SAC Jimmy S. Fox III, New Orleans Field Division

The exhibit provides an important look at how each visitor can work to break the cycle of drug abuse and drug-related violence. It also gives a look at the shadowy world of narco-terrorism and the connections between terrorists and drug traffickers.

“Looking through the eyes of Target America, Louisianans will see the genesis of illegal drugs and how they affect the body, the economy, the environment, and the connection between terrorist organizations that use illegal drug profits to aid and further their evil acts against America and other parts of the world,” said DEA New Orleans Field Division Special Agent-in-Charge Jimmy Fox.

Target America began its national tour in 2002 and comes to New Orleans with a section specific to Louisiana. The “Louisiana Story” looks at prevention, treatment, and law enforcement issues related to drugs in the state, as well as current neuroscience research aimed at understanding and breaking the cycle of drug abuse and addiction.

The Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint Building is home to the Target America exhibit from March 3 and runs through November 24.
The Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint Building is home to the Target America exhibit from March 3 and runs through November 24.

A coalition of corporate, foundation, and individual sponsors brings Target America to New Orleans. The exhibit was developed in partnership with The DEA Educational Foundation, The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and The Partnership for a Drug Free America. It premiered September 11, 2002 at the DEA Museum in Arlington, Virginia and has since inspired many millions of visitors in Dallas, Omaha, New York City, Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

The Old U.S. Mint is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. There is no charge to visit the Target America exhibit in the building’s West Pavilion. Parking is available in the Farmer’s Market lot on Esplanade Avenue, across from the Old U.S. Mint.

A formal ribbon cutting ceremony will be followed by a press conference held by DEA Acting Administrator Leonhart and Lieutenant Governor Landrieu. Also speaking and taking questions will be Fran Harding, Director of CSAP; Dr. Wilson M. Compton, Deputy Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse; Bill Alden, President, DEA Museum Foundation; and Sam Rykels, Louisiana State Museum Director.

Location: The Louisiana State Museum Old U.S. Mint Building 400 Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans

Time: Wednesday, March 3, 2010

9:00 AM—The Target America Exhibit will be open for B-Roll footage of the DEA Exhibit and background interviews with experts

10:00 AM—Press conference, including ribbon cutting ceremony, begins

11:30 AM—Media preview of the exhibit concludes

National media should contact DEA Public Affairs at 202-307-7977 for more information. 

Louisiana media should contact DEA New Orleans Field Division PIO S/A Roberto Bryan at 504- 840-1360 or Louisiana State Museum Communications Director Arthur Smith at 504-568-6945.

Note: PRESS CREDENTIALS REQUIRED

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