Impact of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is huge

September 9 will mark the 15th anniversary of International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day.

September 9 will mark the 15th anniversary of International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day. FASD Awareness Day was created to alert people to the importance of not drinking alcohol during pregnancy and the need to provide effective services for individuals and families impacted by these disorders.

The McMan Youth, Family and Community Services FASD Outreach program will mark this special occasion with a Mocktails campaign that is supported by several of the licensed establishments in Drayton Valley throughout September, FASD Awareness Month, to create awareness and educate people on FASD. FREE Mocktails will be provided at supporting establishments to ALL pregnant women during the month of September, look for these throughout Drayton Valley.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is caused when a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy. FASD is common. It is costly. And it is 100 per cent preventable.

FASD impacts all

In Alberta, every year as many as nine in every 1,000 babies are born in Alberta with prenatal alcohol exposure. It is estimated that about 450 babies are born with FASD each year. The Government of Alberta estimates that there are more than 36,000 individuals living with FASD in Alberta.

According to the Government of Alberta, the estimated cost of FASD in Alberta is $927.5 million per year. The lifetime cost for one individual with FASD is estimated to be $1.12 million for medical, educational and residential care.

Nationally, FASD affects one or of every 100 live births, this is about one per cent of the population. That’s more than Autism and Down syndrome combined. The annual cost of FASD in Canada is estimated at $7.6 billion.

FASD is common, costly and preventable

FASD is the umbrella term used to describe a range of disabilities that may include physical birth defects and health problems including developmental delays, learning disabilities, memory problems, as well as difficulties in communicating feelings and understanding consequences due to irreversible brain damage caused from prenatal alcohol exposure. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) can only be caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy. FASD is a lifelong disability. A child with FASD grows up to be an adult with FASD.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant the safest choice is to drink no alcohol at all. For more information on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders please call Monia Russell with the McMan Youth, Family & Community Services FASD Outreach program at 780-542-2224.