Substance abuse disorder is something that people don’t always discuss, and what you don’t know, is where you can go awry. On today’s episode of The Addicted Mind Podcast, Duane talks to Cathy Ferree, the CEO of the Indiana State Museum, about their exhibit called FIX: Heartbreak and Hope Inside Our Opioid Crisis. 

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It’s an amazing exhibit that really delves into the opioid crisis from a human perspective. It’s a story that creates compassion and understanding all at the same time. Cathy wants to change the narrative about opioid addiction, mental health in general, and to really take away that stigma. 

Having been raised to be very cognizant of people and their feelings, and how much people try to live behind things rather than in front of them, Cathy took charge in finding a role that a museum could play in helping with this crisis. Museums are a place where people trust to give you information and put things in context for you. And it’s great to be able to put this into a museum and have an exhibit that really talks about it in a reliable way. 

There are two things that really stand out to me here – the interactive part, which is the knowledge part, and also the extreme compassion for someone who is struggling with addiction because it can be very hard for people who have not struggled with addiction to really understand it. 

Hopefully, this helps shift the community outlook on addiction to one of recovery, one of hope, and to a possibility of change.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • How the exhibit came to be and why
  • Why they partnered with the recovery community
  • Some hurdles they had to overcome
  • 3 things they want visitors to walk away with
  • The goal to have multiple entry points for a better understanding
  • How they’re able to put all the creativity together

Key Quotes:

[05:33] – “People trust museums. We give you information, we ask you to ask questions, we put things in context for you.”

[05:55] – “Substance abuse disorder is something that people don’t always discuss. And what we know is what you don’t know, is where you can go awry.”

[13:00] – “It’s not a linear experience, you could start with the science, and understand that this is a disease.”

[16:25] – “Opioid has an ability to take hold of your brain in a way no other drug does.” 

[17:10] – “We want people to really better understand so they can then be more compassionate and have an opportunity to really contribute to the benefit of someone they know that may be suffering or in a difficult situation, rather than making it worse.”

[20:33] – “This is a disease that people are struggling with, and you can help them. This is a disease that you could be struggling with. And we hope this helps you.”

[25:06] “At the end of the day, people will help one another. So please look for help, because there is always help somewhere.”

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Supporting Resources:

FIX: Heartbreak and Hope Inside Our Opioid Crisis: https://www.indianamuseum.org/experiences/fix-heartbreak-hope/

Video 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4i-vJoQHhk

Video 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2BNsHrvGGQ

Video 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXK-u2TOGj8