Elaine Pasqua: Surviving the Party

On January 12th, 2017, the Manhasset Secondary School and Manhasset CASA (Community against Substance Abuse) hosted a one-hour long assembly featuring Elaine Pasqua.  Ms. Pasqua is a keynote speaker who is helping people learn how to “survive the party.” In addition to helping high school and college students, she has also worked closely with many NFL and NBA teams.

Elaine Pasqua came to Manhasset Secondary School with one question in mind for students: can parties interfere with our life choices in the future? The answer to that question was a resounding “yes.” Particularly, Ms. Pasqua focused on the alcohol consumption aspect of partying. According to Pasqua, one night can change your entire life. It has been said that 18,700 students die each year to alcohol abuse, and that the damage of alcohol is worth around 3.6 billion dollars each year. Constant alcohol consumption can also lead to various consequences.  People’s personalities can change as a result of alcohol misuse, most notably that the person can become more violent or engage in risk behaviors. Ms. Pasqua noted that 25% of people under the age of 21 have been infected from transmitted diseases and each year about 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experience alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

However, the worse affect alcohol has on a person is what it does to the brain. Too much alcohol consumption leads to each part of the brain shutting down. First, the prefrontal cortex shuts down. This increases dehydration and can cause issues with the rate of urination. It also affects 70% of the human growth hormone.  Without those hormones, any injuries the person can have won’t be healed as quickly as before, if at all. Then comes the lack of coordination, which is where people commonly see people talking with a slurred speech. Lastly, comes the cold hard sleep where the person is out cold where seconds matter between life and death.

So, while parties can drastically affect a person’s life, does that mean we should outlaw parties? No. People can still party without alcohol, but we just have to do it in a smart way. That said, people can have a good time without alcohol. Replace alcohol with either water or soda as drinks. Now, if you’re going to a party that has alcohol and someone tries to offer it, there’s one way to get out of it: self-confidence. This can range from making a pledge to not take alcohol but act calm and casual when someone offers it to you. If you react in an over the top way, the person might resort to peer pressure, so staying calm would be better. You can even go as far as use your parents as an excuse.

There are ways to help someone if they are drunk at a party: You should call 911 when someone’s out cold, or stay sober and drive your friends home if they’re drunk. In New York State, we have a 911/Good Samaritan Law where teens and adults will not be in trouble if they call for help when someone is experiencing a life threatening emergency.

As Elaine Pasqua said, remember to honor your goals and work hard on them. Don’t let one night take it all away. But most of all, honor your body and make decisions that won’t harm you or others in the future.

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