Pub owner warns of fetal-alcohol syndrome


By Rick Stiebel
News Gazette staff

The tragedy of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome moved Colwood Mayor and pub owner Jody Twa to action.

In conjunction with International Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day Sept. 9, Twa is placing labels on all the alcoholic beverages he sells at his Colwood Sports Pub warning customers of the dangers of drinking while pregnant.

"If it helps save one child, then it's worth it," Twa said. "I want all the women that live in my community to know that drinking alcohol while they are pregnant is just too big a risk to take."

Twa said while warning labels about fetal alcohol syndrome have been mandatory in the U.S., Canada has not taken that step yet, although it has been discussed for some time.
"I'd like the government to take that step here," Twa said.

David Gerry, co-chair of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Community Circle, said 15 to 20 newborn babies each year in the Greater Victoria area are affected by FAS, with permanent, non-correctable brain damage.

"These babies require special services and supports, which amounts to over $2 million of extra expenses per child over their lifetime," Gerry said in a media release. "This does not reflect the emotional and social costs to parents, foster parents, and extended family members."