The actual museum portion of the National Addiction Awareness Complex, the Awareness Museum, is the most comprehensive and educational exhibition on addiction in the nation. The Awareness Museum focuses on the history, science, economics, and culture of what has become America’s #1 health issue and a consistently growing problem worldwide. The museum contains a total of 30 permanent in-house exhibits as well as several relocatable “traveling” exhibits.
The History Exhibits will document, through literature, photos, and film, the addictive nature of alcohol, opioids, and many other intoxicants from the pre-prohibition era to the present day. Visitors will understand how addiction affects the individual, the family, the workplace, and society in general.
They will see how the rise of new and more powerful drugs, available more inexpensively and in larger quantities, continues to ensnare victims in the web of addiction. Visitors will also learn about the wide range of lesser known addictions, including gambling, hoarding, inhalants, over-eating, and shopping/spending, as well as the rise of the more recent, technology-oriented addictions, such as the internet, cellular phones, and video games.
The Science Exhibits will show and explain the physical and psychological impacts of addiction, including how the brain reacts to various addictive stimuli and why it is so difficult, if not impossible, to escape the clutches of addiction on one’s own. These exhibits will also educate visitors on the physiological changes that take place within the human body as a person succumbs to the overwhelming power of addiction.
The Economics Exhibits will reveal how the culture of addiction is costing the nation billions and billions of dollars every year in terms of hospitalizations, crime, incarcerations, and reduced worker productivity, just to name a few. One focus will be the government’s dependency on the taxation of various addictive products, such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and marijuana. Visitors will understand how addiction and its inherent problems and costs are devastating cities and towns throughout the United States.
The Culture Exhibits will demonstrate how American society has become more understanding and sympathetic regarding the topic of drug addiction, and other addictions in general, and how society has taken a less stigmatizing view of the problem, viewing addiction not as a choice but as a physiological disease. Visitors will also see how different cultures around the world view the use of various drugs and why American communities are being ravaged through the ever growing problem of addiction.
Other exhibits within the Awareness Museum include those detailing the Legal and Judicial aspects of addiction, drug use and addiction in the Government and Military, how addiction affects Families, and exhibits on Celebrities and other well-known people who suffered addiction and those who died as a result.
The Awareness Museum also explores the Stigmas and Myths surrounding the many forms of addiction, from caffeine and gambling to hoarding and over-eating, separating fact from fiction and educating visitors on the truth behind addiction.
Many visitors to the Awareness Museum will be school children taking School Field Trips. The Awareness Museum will accommodate 11,880 field trips per year, educating and enlightening approximately 594,000 kids each year about addiction awareness.