"Alcohol Exposed" Director Gives Lecture

By Broadside Correspondent Muhammad Ghazi

Tom Tazalaar started Alcohol Exposed as his way of continuing to serve the community after 31 years on the police force. After eight years, Tazalaar has become highly experienced in the field and he leads a typical afternoon focused on anti-alcohol and anti-drug discussions.

Over 30 students recently packed a room for the event held in Thompson Hall, where they learned everything about alcohol from fermentation to fatalities. A brief history of bootleg alcohol segued into the different types of alcohol and their broad uses, including gasoline, antifreeze and various antiseptics. Much of the information included common knowledge, but many in the room learned something new.

The discussion posed certain questions such as: “How many of us are aware that the germ-killing properties found in alcohol cut through grease just as well as Tilex or 409? Or that alcohol has a tendency to distribute itself evenly throughout the human body, so much so that you can determine a person’s blood alcohol content with even an eyeball?”

Although the discussion was informative, it contained more than factoids and encouraged those attending to speak the truth about alcohol. The clear message and motive of the lecture was designed to come across that afternoon: that alcohol is a depressant drug, one that is comparable to heroin, and that it is time to “take a different look at alcohol.”

The lecture was equaled into insightful and creative parts, with colorful examples infused with practical knowledge running throughout the presentation. Otherwise dry topics such as the properties of different kinds of alcohols along with their behavior were livened up by anecdotes and stories from the speaker’s time as a police officer.

The overall consensus of the crowd was that cops have the best stories and according to them, Tazalaar was no exception.

Tazalaar spoke briefly about cop life, including bizarre highway patrol stories and other alcohol related incidents he encountered while on duty which gave much more depth and meaning to all the factual information presented in the lecture.

In addition, specially designed packets and handouts were also made available to the crowd. There were also references to pop culture, and questions posed to the audience added to the discussion, helping to keep the talk engaging and lively. The end of the presentation was meant to be the most impacting, with numerous statistics interspersed with the heavier, more depressing topics.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and its effects were discussed as causes to ruin livers and corrupt brain tissue as a result of alcoholism. During these segments, slides made up of the requisite disturbing images of organ or bodily deformations and abnormalities were shown, unquestionably as part of the “scared straight” routine.

The event succeeded in being more than a simple lecture filled with a string of shallow tactics to merely shock an audience in order to gain their attention.

Instead, logic and knowledge about alcohol prevailed as being the substance of the presentation in a way that fostered genuine interest from the audience, with definite potential for it to be spread by word of mouth—all part of the mission of the Alcohol Exposed Foundation.

The event was unique for the audience and maintained an informative atmosphere for Mason students, raising awareness about the often overlooked, but always present, realities that accompany the abuse of alcohol.

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