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November 15, 2010

More Women Are Drinking During Pregnancy Than You Think

National Association of FASD State Coordinators special report states: While most reports state that 10% of pregnant women drink alcohol (including reports by government agencies), the actual figure is 23.7%. According to t he National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the latest data (2008 survey) indicates that of women in their first trimester of pregnancy, 23.7% report that they consumed alcohol during the past 30 days. Only 20% had not consumed alcohol in the previous 12 month period. View the survey table results. Read the full report for a detailed explanation and instructions on how to access the survey data.

October 18, 2010

Creating a Preliminary Neurobehavioral Profile for FASD

Science Daily report: A continuum of physical, mental, and behavioral damage is caused by prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and is referred to by the non-diagnostic term, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). While the identification of children along the continuum of FASD is complicated, it is also necessary in order to assist more precise diagnoses and/or better treatment options. A new study has constructed a preliminary neurobehavioral profile of FASD using neuropsychological data from a multisite study, finding that executive functioning and spatial processing are especially sensitive to alcohol exposure. Results will be published in the September 2010 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

October 8, 2010

Pregnancy-and-drinking study draws fire

Globe and Mail report: A controversial study published this week that suggested light drinking may not harm fetuses has drawn criticism from other researchers, including Sterling Clarren at the University of British Columbia. There were a number of serious issues with the research, says Dr. Clarren, including that the children were assessed at the age of five, too early to see some of the problems that can be caused by exposure to alcohol.

In another report: Australian researchers are warning mothers-to-be not to drink during their pregnancy despite a British study suggesting light drinking is ok.

Video response of Dr. Gideon Koren, director of Motherisk rogram, Toronoto's Hospital for Sick Children

The World Health Organization still advises women not to drink at all during pregnancy to avoid fetal alcohol damage.

September 28, 2010

Diagnosis called crucial to addressing FASD.

Whitehorse Daily Star reports: The first, and most crucial, step to effectively preventing and addressing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders is diagnosing sufferers, says one of Canada’s leading FASD researchers. Dr. Sterling Clarren delivered his message to participants at the Walking Together symposium being held today and tomorrow at the High Country Inn Convention Centre.

“Every system is perfectly organized to deliver the results that are achieved,” Clarren said, quoting American doctor and public health care advocate Don Berwick.

“So,” he continued, “it is not an accident when the results are not those that were hoped for.”

The current system, Clarren said, is not effective in assisting people with FASD, nor preventing new babies being born with a fetal alcohol disorder, because there is a major lag in identifying how many Canadians suffer from the brain damage done when a pregnant mother drinks excessively.

September 19, 2010

New Resource for FASD in Northern Arizona

Arizona Daily Sun reports: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Northern Arizona (FASDNA) is a resource center that provides community education and a support group for families raising a child or children with FASD.

Cindy Beckett, Ph.D., R.N.C.-O.B., L.C.C.E, is the director of Pediatric/Perinatal Services and Evidence-Based Practice at Flagstaff Medical Center. She is the co-chair of the Arizona State Task Force for the Prevention of Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol and Other Drugs, the Arizona co-coordinator for FASD Prevention and co-facilitator for FASDNA.

Flagstaff Medical Center is hosting its third annual Pregnant Pause event from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, at the hospital. The event is in coordination with FMC's Fantastic Voyage, part of the citywide Festival of Science. The community is invited to come and learn more about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders. Local restaurants will be competing to create non-alcoholic drinks for pregnant women to enjoy. Join in the fun by helping judge the drink contest and participate in free drawings.

September 10, 2010

FASD Ontario Network of Expertise publishes three new research reports.

FASD ONE online reports: Respite care for families, provision of services, and education. The reports are also available in French.

August 18, 2010

Researchers Publish "Research to Policy" Paper

NIAAA Alcohol Research and Health publication: During the time NIAAA was established 40 years ago, alcohol was not recognized as an agent that can disrupt the development of a fetus (i.e., teratogen). Today, we understand that prenatal alcohol exposure induces a variety of adverse effects on physical, neurological, and behavioral development. This article by Dr. Jennifer D. Thomas, Dr. Kenneth R. Warren, and Ms. Brenda G. Hewitt discusses NIAAA’s contribution to the identification of the range and prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), methods for prevention and treatment of FASD, and some of the ways that NIAAA has contributed to our understanding of FASD, the challenges that we still face, and how this research has translated into changes in public policy.

October 14, 2009

Claims of health benefits from alcohol do not hold up

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society report: According a new study of over 3,000 adults aged 70-79, the apparent association between light-to-moderate alcohol consumption and reduced risk of functional decline over time did not hold up after adjustments were made for characteristics related to lifestyle, in particular physical activity, body weight, education, and income. Read more here.

September 2, 2009

The Ninth Day of the Ninth Month

Prince Rupert Daily News: It has been ten years since journalist Bonnie Buxton launched an international day that would bring awareness to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. While digging through a 1999 snowstorm at their home in Ontario, Buxton and her husband Brian Philcox came up with what Buxton described as a “crazy idea.” Why not use the ninth hour of the ninth day on the ninth month in 1999 as the moment to ring bells in communities to bring awareness of the plight of those suffering from FASD. A decade later hundreds of communities across the world use September 9 to raise awareness about FASD. Read more here.

August 27, 2009

Client with FAS accused of arson needs supervision, not jail

Winnipeg Free Press: Lawyer Martin Glazer said he has been told the 18-year-old man arrested last week and accused of setting more than 20 fires in Tuxedo and River Heights during the last six months has the mental capacity of a child in Grade 3. Glazer said it was a similar situation one of his clients faced during several court hearings in the 1990s. That man -- who had been accused several times of arson but never convicted -- was born in 1967 and diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and the mental capacity of a seven-year-old child.

"Jail is not the solution for people with mental disabilities in conflict with the law," Glazer said on Wednesday. "Government-funded community supervision is more effective. It's better to have them treated humanely than keep them in jail. "Jail simply puts off the inevitable. They will then be released without a safety net. Community supervision is the best protection for society," Glazer said.

August 26, 2009

Alcohol During Pregnancy Causes Brain Cell Death

Rutgers News Report: Rutgers researcher Professor Dipak Sarkar recently received a $3.5 million MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue researching the damaging effects of alcohol on the nervous systems of the unborn. The beta-endorphin neurons that produce the endorphin hormone are vulnerable to damage by alcohol during early development of hte fetus. Sarkar’s research has shown that a seemingly irreversible reduction in the number and function of beta-endorphin neurons results in a permanent impairment of stress and immune system functions throughout life. While the body often displays the ability to recover from damage or disease, this does not seem to come into play with the loss of beta-endorphin neurons.Beta-endorphin neurons are also known as opioids because, like opium-based narcotics, their hormone products have the ability to reduce pain and increase a sense of well-being. Their loss would consequently have an opposite effect, reducing the ability to manage stress. Read more here.

August 25, 2009

Global Look at Alcohol Burden and Policies

The Marin Institute reports on Lancet articles: Alcohol consumption is one of the largest avoidable risk factors globally and that action to reduce the harm and costs is urgently needed. Read the entire Lancet series here.

June 30, 2009

Growing Problem of Cognitive Disorders in Corrections

Iceberg Newsletter article by Bruce Gage: The growing number of mentally ill in our correctional systems has been well-publicized and is generally well-accepted at this point. It is perhaps lesser known that there are large numbers of persons with various neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions in the correctional system as well. Often unrecognized are those with common conditions such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). These groups share a similar profile in terms of the kinds of problems they have. Moreover, they are preventable problems that are having substantial adverse impacts on both the sufferers and our community.

Too often, these behavioral problems stemming from TBI or FASD are attributed to antisocial or other personality disorders or simply to moral turpitude. Many of these people get into trouble with the law or in school from a young age. They often come from poor or disadvantaged settings where treatment or other interventions may be minimal, and even the presence of cognitive impairment is frequently unappreciated. Behavioral problems and the fact that academics are often difficult for the cognitively impaired can lead to other psychological problems related to poor self-esteem. People with FASD or TBI, and cognitive disorders in general, may then turn to social roles where they can find acceptance but which are often centered on drug use and/or criminal attitudes.

June 30, 2009

Missouri Man with pFAS on Death Row; Case Heard in U.S. Supreme Court

Columbia Missourian news story: The defense team for a Columbia man convicted of a triple murder in 1995 is appealing his death sentence on the grounds that the defendant is mentally retarded. The defense called two witnesses to testify about Johnson's mental capacity... both mental health experts who had previously interviewed and tested Johnson. Both witnesses Monday agreed that Johnson has partial fetal alcohol syndrome and mild mental retardation, but neither could actually diagnose him because only medical doctors can make those diagnoses. Brown is a licensed psychologist and Connor is a clinical and neurological psychologist.

Johnson's death sentence has twice been overturned — in 1998 because the Missouri Supreme Court found that Johnson’s original attorney did not call a witness to testify about Johnson's mental capacity and in 2003 because the state's high court found that it is unconstitutional to execute someone that is mentally retarded.

June 26, 2009

Proceedings of the 2008 annual meeting of the FASD Study Group

Science Direct: The annual meeting of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study Group (FASDSG) was held on June 28, 2008 in Washington DC, as a satellite to the Research Society on Alcoholism meeting. The FASDSG membership includes clinical, basic, and social scientists who meet to discuss recent advances and issues in FASD research. The main theme of the meeting was “Factors that Influence Brain and Behavioral Development: Implications for Prevention and Intervention.” Two keynote speakers, Dr. Stephen Suomi and Dr. Carl Keen addressed how early environment and nutrition may influence outcome after prenatal alcohol exposure. The final keynote speaker, Kathy Mitchell, addressed issues regarding the relationship between scientists and the families with children with FASD. Members of the FASDSG provided updates on new findings through brief (FASt) data reports and national agency representatives provided updates of activities and funding priorities. Presentations were also made by recipients of the Student Research Merit award and Rosett award.

June 25, 2009

NIH Awards Grant to Study Children With FAS

SDSU newsletter: Roger Simmons, Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, was awarded a $411,125.00 grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund a two year research program entitled “Regulation of Force in Children with Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol”. Working with the Center for Behavioral Teratology at SDSU, Roger hopes this research will help health offices and physicians construct better rehabilitation programs for children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

June 24, 2009

Alcohol May Not Be So Good for You, After All

Join Together report on NY Times article: Many studies have suggested that using alcohol in moderation may help heart health and even prevent diabetes and dementia, but some scientists are questioning the purported benefits of moderate drinking, the New York Times reported June 16... Critics have wondered whether the abstainers included people who had stopped drinking because they already had heart disease, or were older and perhaps more susceptible to disease.

Adding to the debate is the relationship between the alcoholic-beverage industry and researchers; some studies showing the benefits to moderate drinking have been funded by the alcohol industry.

“The bottom line is there has not been a single study done on moderate alcohol consumption and mortality outcomes that is a ‘gold standard’ kind of study — the kind of randomized controlled clinical trial that we would be required to have in order to approve a new pharmaceutical agent in this country,” said Dr. Tim Naimi, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

June 17, 2009

Presentation on FASD and Legal Issues Now Available Online

Judge Anthony Wartnik of FASD Experts announces that their presentation on FASD in the Legal System is now available in PDF format at their web site

Several other presentations by Wartnik and Dr. Paul Connor of the same group are also available online: Click here.

December 12, 2008

Light drinking during pregnancy will not make your child smarter!

The Belfast Telegraph printed a statement by the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Work Group:

A rash of recent newspaper stories suggesting that light drinking during pregnancy may be beneficial for an unborn child are alarming to many of those in the medical community.

These misleading and irresponsible reports followed a recently published study by the University College, London suggesting that 3-year-old children whose mothers drank “lightly” during pregnancy were not at risk for certain behavioral problems. The erroneous interpretation by the lay press about some “beneficial” effects of drinking during pregnancy was NOT part of the study’s findings. Indeed, the comments by the media also run counter to research studies indicating that low levels of alcohol can damage a fetus.

The consensus recommendation of the hundreds of scientists and clinical investigators, who study Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, along with public health officials around the world, is very clear - a woman should abstain from drinking during pregnancy as part of an overall program of good prenatal care that includes good nutrition, adequate exercise, sufficient rest, and proper prenatal health care. Read the full statement here and related statement here.

October 16, 2008

Study Looks at Adaptive Behaviors of Children with FASD

A descriptive profile of adaptive functions: Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) demonstrate neurobehavioral impairments that affect function and participation. Adaptive behavior deficits have been documented; however, specific functional profiles are less well described.

Children with FASD were rated significantly lower on the Scales of Independent Behavior-Revised in social interaction and communication, personal-living skills, and community-living skills and significantly higher on maladaptive behavior scales. Exploratory contrasts revealed strengths and needs within specific functional domains, along with the need for more support and supervision than peers with typical development to perform day-to-day adaptive skills and manage behavior.

Children with FASD and their caregivers need support for daily activities involving personal and social performance. Awareness of specific strengths and needs can guide interventions that promote function and participation.

Key message: Children with FASD need support and supervision beyond age-level expectations to perform daily activities safely and successfully. Read the entire research report here.

October 7, 2008

Alberta Research Reveals Specific Brain Areas Affected by FASD

Researchers at the University of Alberta report: “We looked at children who have been diagnosed at the Glenrose Hospital, and when we compared their brains to those of normal, healthy children, we found gross abnormalities across a number of white-matter tracts,” Rasmussen said.

“We looked at ten major tracts and found that seven of the ten were damaged in children with FASD.” White matter tracts are the connections of neurons in the brain. They connect larger portions of the brain to one another and are responsible for communication between these different portions, like relay stations, researcher Carmen Rasmussen explained.

What the study reveals is the true and devastating extent of this damage, which encompasses 70 per cent of major white matter tracts as well as three of four observed grey matter tracts, critical components to the central nervous system.

“The most compelling [part of this study] is that alcohol really affects the whole developing brain and the majority of the tracts,” Rasmussen concluded. Read entire article.

October 2, 2008

Canada Evaluates FASD Screening Tools

Taskforce for the Development of FASD Screening Tools : critically reviewed and evaluated published and practiced methods for their potential of screening suspected cases, their epidemiological characteristics (sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values) [Phase I], as well as their feasibility [Phase II].

The following five tools were selected for the FASD screening toolkit: screening fatty acid ethyl esters in neonatal meconium, the modified Child Behaviour Checklist, Medicine Wheel tool, Asante Centre Probation Officer Tool, and maternal history of drinking and drug use.

The toolkit for FASD screening aims at screening different populations, from the newborns to youth and at-risk mothers. It is anticipated that the toolkit will facilitate diagnosis of FASD. Read the entire publication here. Read the full report here.

October 1, 2008

OBGYNs Not Comfortable Talking About Prenatal Alcohol Use

Journal of Patient Education and Counseling: reports research showing that patients don't volunteer information about substance abuse unless specifically queried.

The researchers call for obstetrical care providers – both physicians and midwives – to learn more about drug and alcohol cessation programs, to ask questions and to have information and counseling available when dealing with patients who use or are at risk for abusing illicit drugs or alcohol.

"Pregnant women are sensitive about being asked about substance abuse and some health-care providers may feel that talking about these issues will compromise the provider-patient relationship, however, the evidence suggests that the benefits of a frank discussion about substance abuse far outweigh the costs to the relationship," said Dr. Frankel, a medical sociologist. Read more.

September 28, 2008

Children left at Nebraska hospitals, including one with FAS

Chicago Tribune Report: Several teenagers and pre-teens left by families at Nebraska hospitals over the past several weeks are mentally ill or have severe behavioral problems, according to the Omaha World-Herald. The newspaper reports today that families sought help for these violent or out-of-control kids, unsuccessfully. A 13-year-old girl who'd been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, and severe behavioral problems. She was prone to fly into rages and and had been living at Boys Town until her great aunt removed her at the beginning of the summer, concerned that the girl was being medicated too heavily. After the girl smeared her menstrual blood on the walls of her house, the "aunt called agencies for help but said she could not find a program," the World-Herald reports. Under Nebraska's new "safe haven" law -- the last in the nation -- seven teens have been dropped off at hospitals over the past several weeks by parents or guardians. The Nebraska law is the only in the U.S. that doesn't set an age limit on children who can be handed over to authorities, no questions asked. In Nebraska, the debate now centers around the adequacy of services for families with troubled kids. A lack of resources prevents families from receiving needed help, advocates claim in another storypublished by the Omaha World-Herald today. Read Full Article.

September 19, 2008

New Mexico Center to Study Prenatal Alcohol Effects

University of New Mexico Given $2.5 Million for FASD. The program is funded by a five-year grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The New Mexico Alcohol Research Center will look at the effects of alcohol on the brain. Dr. Daniel Savage, who is leading the program, said he will research fetal alcohol syndrome and a new ailment called fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

He said differentiating between the disorders is important because they can affect patients in different ways and at different times in life.

"We call it fetal alcohol spectrum disorder these days because FAS is just one end of the spectrum of problems that have been associated with maternal drinking during pregnancy," Savage said. Read more here.

September 19, 2008

Fetal alcohol disorder cases challenge justice system

CBC Report: A survey of how well the Yukon's justice system deals with people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or FASD, suggests justice professionals know little about the disorder.

The survey, which also interviewed people with FASD, their parents and support workers, found that people with the disorder had little or no understanding of what's happening to them when they go before the courts.

The report was released Thursday in Whitehorse, at a national conference on how well the justice system deals with people with FASD, a type of brain damage suffered by a fetus while in the mother's uterus. The disorder can lead to impulsive, self-destructive behaviour.

Researcher Lisa Jacobs told delegates that justice professionals who have worked with people with FASD also sense that their clients don't understand what's going on, and in some cases feel overwhelmed. Read more here.

September 9, 2008

Alberta Government to Fund More Services for FASD

Canadian Press Report: The Alberta government is adding another five centres across the province to assess, diagnose and provide support services for people with fetal alcohol syndrome disorder.

The networks will be based in Camrose, Edmonton, Hinton, High Level and Medicine Hat, and each will receive initial funding of $250,000.

They bring together services and resources of community agencies to provide a single point of entry and collaborative response for individuals seeking assistance.

Children and Youth Services Minister Janis Tarchuk said in a news release Tuesday that the services will help improve the quality of life for people with FASD, who have brain damage and life-long disabilities.

September 8, 2008

Manitoba rolls out plan to tackle fetal alcohol disorder

Winnepeg Free Press reports: If a new provincial support program for people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder had been available three years ago, Christopher Surbey might still be alive, his adoptive mother said Tuesday.

The 17-year-old was stabbed to death after he was left alone for the night by the Child and Family Services-sponsored agency that supervised him.

"Christopher's death did spark some change," Val Surbey said. "It sparked Life's Journey and now, through the province, they will help people with FASD."

$550,000 will be given to FASD Life's Journey program to provide treatment and support to people with FASD who are living independently.

A mobile support team - the first in the country - will also help people with FASD access housing, work, health care and programs dealing with mental health and addictions.

The province will spend $600,000 to hire FASD specialists in each of the four Child and Family Services authorities. Read entire article.

September 5, 2008

Development of Canadian Screening Tools for FASD

The Canadian Journal Of Clinical Pharmacology: FASD is the most common cause of neurobehavioural handicap in North America. Screening for FASD may facilitate diagnosis and hence management of these children. A variety of screening tools is presented for the identification of children at risk for FASD. Read the entire publication here: Can J Clin Pharmacol Vol 15 (2) Summer 2008:e344-e366

August 11, 2008

Researchers Block (Some) Damage to Fetal Brain at Time of Alcohol Exposure

American Journal of Physiology:  In a study on fetal alcohol syndrome, researchers were able to prevent the damage that alcohol causes to cells in a key area of the fetal brain by blocking acid sensitive potassium channels and preventing the acidic environment that alcohol produces. The cerebellum, the portion of the brain that is responsible for balance and muscle coordination, is particularly vulnerable to injury from alcohol during development.

The researchers also found that although alcohol lowers the amount of oxygen in the blood of the mother, it is not the lack of oxygen that damages the fetal cerebellum, but the drop in pH. Read more.

July 31, 2008

Alcohol Binges Increase Risk of Cleft Lip/Palate

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: A new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health shows that pregnant women who binge drink early in their pregnancy increase the likelihood that their babies will be born with oral clefts.

The researchers found that women who consumed an average of five or more drinks per sitting were more than twice as likely than non-drinkers to have an infant with either of the two major infant oral clefts: cleft lip with or without cleft palate, or cleft palate alone. Women who drank at this level on three or more occasions during the first trimester were three times as likely to have infants born with oral clefts. Read more.

July 30, 2008

Our Opinion: Keep Heroine's Work Going

Tucson Citizen Editorial:Teresa Kellerman will never know how many millions of people she has helped, the health of how many children she has protected or how many overwhelmed parents she has restored to sanity.

But one thing is certain: Kellerman is the only Tucson lottery winner to spend a $1 million jackpot on challenged families rather than on herself. Read editorial and comments.

July 29, 2008

$1M lottery prize spent on fetal alcohol battle

Tucson Citizen: Some lottery winners spend their riches on mansions or exotic cars.

Tucsonan Teresa Kellerman changed the world.

The adoptive mom used her $1 million jackpot to found a center to help families like hers, struggling to raise children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

She started a Web site that helps a million visitors from around the globe each year understand about the brain damage that occurs in an unborn child when a pregnant woman drinks. Kellerman spreads the word every day on the importance of abstaining from alcohol if there is even a chance a woman could be pregnant.

Tucson Citizen Story
Related news article
Photo slide show

July 28, 2008

Report to President Hightlights FASD Issues

President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities: The Promise of Research and Prevention includes a lengthy section entitled, Defeating the Single Most Preventable Cause of Intellectual Disabilities in the United States: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Access the document here.

July 21, 2008

Wisconsin may have highest risk for infants born with FAS

Madison News Reports Story about Kathy Kidd-Wuest: At five months, the fetus growing inside Kathy Kidd-Wuest was old enough to suck his thumb if so inclined, or get the hiccups. He was 10 inches long and weighed nearly a pound. Kidd-Wuest, who didn't know she was pregnant, was unaware of him, but he was aware of her. He was beginning to recognize the sound of her heartbeat. He was starting to recognize her voice too. He even could hear sounds from the world outside – his mother's world.

Kidd-Wuest felt herself relaxing after a long week at work. She finished her first drink and ordered another. Then another. Kidd-Wuest had five drinks in all. They cost $2.50 a pop. That seemed a bargain. But 18 years later, Kidd-Wuest still is paying the price for drinking during the first five months of her pregnancy. So is her son, now 18, who was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. Read more.

July 15, 2008

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the risk of early stillbirth.

Department of Family and Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN Research:Alcohol use during pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirth. The study shows that mothers who consumed five or more drinks per week during pregnancy experienced a 70% elevated risk of stillbirth compared with nondrinking mothers. Read Abstract.

July 14, 2008

Roots of Violence?

Glasgow Herald story on April 14: Scotland's chief medical officer, Dr. Harry Burns, believes that the growing incidence of violence among young people, particularly boys, is at least partly due to Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). In other words, some of the teenagers involved in gang violence and knife crime are suffering from the effects of their mothers' heavy drinking in pregnancy.

We must now face the possibility that the seemingly inexorable tide of violence sweeping up too many young people may not be attributable only to external factors such as poor parenting, poor diet and violent computer games, but result from physical damage before birth. Read full article.

July 9, 2008

Research Report on Intervention Strategies that Prevent Secondary Disabilities in FASD

Evidenced-based nursing interventions report: Research by Linda Caley et all in 2006 identified strategies that are effectively implemented in the nursing profession to help children and adults with FASD avoid or minimize the serious secondary disabilities previously reported by Dr. Ann Streissguth in 1996.

The strategies reported in this research are identical to those many parents and FASD specialists have been recommending for years. This report validates what we already have learned and know to be true: There are things we can do to help our children with FASD attain a better quality of life as they grow into adulthood. Read more. Read Medscape research article.

July 1, 2008

MOFAS Works to Get FASDs into DSM-V

Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The umbrella term FASD includes a diverse set of mental and behavioral phenotypes that are often misdiagnosed and ill-treated, causing families to endure undue social and financial costs. Furthermore, undiagnosed/misdiagnosed individuals often have a high recidivism rate in institutions such as jails, mental health and substance dependence programs, and homeless shelters. However, correct and early diagnosis has proven effective in preventing secondary disabilities and negative outcomes.FASD is currently undefined in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition (DSM-IV), the handbook used by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals in the U.S. as well as internationally to diagnose and classify mental disorders. This often results in misdiagnosis by medical and mental health professionals, lack of understanding and support in schools, social and judicial systems, and inappropriate treatment strategies/interventions. Furthermore, there is no effective way to link the medical aspects of FASD with the mental health issues that arise in approximately 90% of individuals with FASD, thus preventing families from receiving appropriate services. Also, the absence of FASD in the DSM prevents an integrated/multidisciplinary approach with pediatric and medical interventions, psychologists, psychiatrist, PT/OT, speech therapists. Therefore, although there are logistical, technical, and procedural difficulties surrounding the inclusion of FASD in the DSM-V (scheduled to be published in 2012), MOFAS believes its inclusion is vital not only in facilitating more accurate diagnosis and reporting, but to increase awareness and present the opportunity for further psychiatric research. Read more.

June 26, 2008

Program pays addicts to prevent alcohol-affected births

Project Prevention is a program that pays addicts and alcoholics who have taken measures to prevent pregnancy. Keeping one child from being conceived keeps one child from being neglected and abused, said Barbara Harris, director of the program, . It also keeps one child from possible birth defects as a result of exposure to drugs and alcohol in utero. Read more.

June 12, 2008

New Book about Canada's Indian Population's Struggle With Alcohol Hightlights FASD

Book Review Where the Pavement Ends by Marie Warden: Marie Wadden is a CBC television producer. It is always hard to read any book which is full of stories about Indian, Inuit and Metis addictions, physical and sexual abuse, no matter how well the author exonerates and explains and tries to portray First Nations as victims through no fault of their own.

If 20 to 30 per cent of our young people are compromised by FASD, some severely afflicted, and we allow this pattern to continue, what will become of the future?

Wadden's answer so far is, "If we had alcohol stopped tomorrow, it would take 80 or 90 years for the system to clear itself of the damage caused by persons afflicted by alcohol." Read entire review.

June 10, 2008

Behavioral outcomes for substance-exposed adopted children

14-year post-adoption study shows: Early risk factors are predictors of poor outcomes. This study examined the influence of prenatal substance exposure on children's externalizing behaviors at 14 years postadoption. Prenatal exposure predicted elevated behavior problems that increased normatively compared with nonexposed children, and were not found to trigger the negative behavior sequelae once feared. Foster children tended to fare better over the life course than those adopted through other means, except for children adopted at older ages. Adopted children's problem behaviors may be directly associated with the success of their placements. Read abstract.

June 7, 2008

New Australia guidelines say no alcohol is safest option during pregnancy

National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia: Alcohol consumption during pregnancy has been associated with increased risks of miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine growth restriction, pre-term birth and low birth-weight... with a range of birth defects and ongoing educational, behavioral and psychological problems. With over half the Australian women still consuming alcohol during pregnancy, obstetricians and other health professionals have the responsibility to provide accurate information about the harmful effects of alcohol. Research abstrace online

June 6, 2008

Idaho Targets FAS With Warning Stickers

Idaho Statemsman Story: Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, the state Department of Health and Welfare, the Idaho State Police, state lawmakers and others have unveiled the new warning program, which includes stickers that will be displayed prominently at the checkout counters and on display cases at state liquor stores, warning, “Alcohol can harm your baby. Be an Alcohol-Free Mother-to-be.” Read more.

June 4, 2008

Inquest Begins Into In-Custody Death of Young Man With FAS

Langley Times reports on Death of James Bertholet: The inquest opened Tuesday in Burnaby with the release of test results that show Bertholet died from alcohol poisoning. Shortly before his death, after he was kicked out of a Surrey recovery house, his mother said her desperate son told her he wanted to go to jail because it was the only place he could get treatment. "I'm not going to make it, drive me to jail," he said. "They won't take you," she warned. So he decided to get himself arrested by opening a bottle of booze in a Surrey liquor store and drinking it without paying. Read more.

June 1, 2008

Steve Neafcy Authors Book on How to Cope with FASD

Quad City Times Story: Stephen Neafcy spent 43 years of his life thinking he was a loser. He dropped out of high school because he could barely understand a thing he learned. He ended up in trouble with the law because he would steal things that caught his fancy. Inner peace was impossible to find. Then, in 1996, Neafcy’s sister took him to the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Clinic in Seattle, where a doctor diagnosed him with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD. Neafcy had brain damage. Finally, in middle age, he had an explanation as to why his life had been a living hell for so long.

His book, “The Long Way to Simple,” offers a lighthearted look at what it’s like living with FASD. The breezy read provides practical advice on living with the disorder or taking care of someone who has it. Read more.

May 24, 2008

Courts, prisons fail in treatment for mentally ill, FASD

Terry Casha's Story in Grand Rapids Press: For his first 18 years, Casha stayed out of trouble, followed the rules. Only after he graduated and went out on his own did the trouble begin. He couldn't hold a job. He lost his apartment and ended up living in the missions and on the streets of Grand Rapids. He had minor brushes with the law -- driving on a suspended license, urinating in public -- then the major one that landed him in prison.

He has been told he has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, the umbrella term for a range of disabilities, but he can't describe how it affects him. He's 32 but has the emotional development of a person perhaps half his age. Those who suffer from the disorder need supervision and structure, a routine, to keep them from getting in trouble, experts say. Read entire story.

May 22, 2008

South Africa Families Battle FAS

Voice of America Interview With Vivian and Peter Lorens: Tisha Lourens is an outgoing, active 12-year-old growing up in a loving adoptive family in Cape Town. But Tisha is small for her age and sometimes has difficulty expressing herself. These are symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

Studies in the U.S. and Canada indicate Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and its related disorders affect up to one percent of all children, but experts say it is under-reported. In South Africa, FAS has been found to be as high as 8 percent in vulnerable communities.

Tisha's father, Peter Lourens, notes that most adults with FAS need support. He worries whether Tisha will be able to cope with life after he is gone. "That is really where I'd like to see the next focus," he said. "Yes, the prevention is definitely something, but what about all the children that are already damaged? The damage is permanent. It cannot be changed. We have to teach them enough that they are able to survive the world around them." Read more.

May 14, 2008

Criminal Minds? Justice System Fails Inmates with FASD

Capital Times (Madison, WI) story: Tyler Mills lost nearly 25 pounds over the course of three weeks, but his jailers didn't see anything alarming about that. It was his choice to stop eating, his choice to stop drinking, his choice to swallow the toothbrush that was lodged in his stomach. He's among legions -- some say hundreds of thousands -- of inmates nationwide with fetal alcohol disorders, and jails and prisons are at a loss as to how to deal with their particular brand of misbehavior. Mills was hoping to be the first person in the nation to be found not guilty of a crime because of mental illness caused by fetal alcohol exposure. Read more.

May 13, 2008

One in Three Austrailian Women Drink During Pregnancy

Royal "Australian College of Physicians Reports: More than one third of pregnant women drink despite most knowing the harmful effects alcohol can have on unborn children. A report outlines the results of a telephone survey of 1,103 Australian women aged between 18 and 45. Thirty-four per cent of the women surveyed consumed alcohol during their last pregnancy and 32 per cent said they would drink if planning, and during, a future pregnancy. Read more.

May 12, 2008

Kellerman to Receive NOFAS Award of Excellence

Press Release: The National Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) will present Kellerman with the award on May 14th at the annual NOFAS Leadership Awards Benefit. The event is hosted by Tom and Linda Daschle and Senator Lisa Murkowski and is underwritten by the Schering-Plough Corporation.  

Other benefit honorees include Senators Tim Johnson, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Max Baucus, and Dr. Ken Warren, Associate Director for Basic Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health.  

Kellerman, director of the FAS Community Resource Center in Tucson, was selected for the award because of her outstanding accomplishments in raising awareness about the dangers of alcohol use during pregnancy and the plight of affected individuals and their families. Read more.

May 6, 2008

Adoptees Have Increased Risk of Mental Health Problems

Science Daily reports on NIAAA study: Although most adopted American teens are psychologically healthy, adoptees appear to be at greater risk for emotional and behavioral problems than non-adoptees, according to a new report. They are also more likely to have contact with a mental health professional.

Adoptees scored moderately higher on continuous measures of behavioral and emotional problems. "Nevertheless, being adopted approximately doubled the odds of having contact with a mental health professional and of having a disruptive behavior disorder [attention-deficit/hyperactivity, oppositional defiant, or conduct disorder]. Relative to international adoptees, domestic adoptees had higher odds of having [a disruptive] disorder," the authors write. "Focusing on internalizing problems, teachers reported that international adoptees were significantly more anxious than non-adopted adolescents and their parents reported significantly more symptoms of internalizing disorders, specifically major depressive disorders and separation anxiety disorders."Abstract and citation here.

April 20, 2008

Preteens Feel the Effects of Mom’s Pregnancy Bad Habits

Childrens Hospital Boston study shows: Children exposed to these toxins may suffer effects well into early adolescence. The neurological effects can range from mild to very serious. The symptoms include everything from epilepsy, seizure disorders, hearing loss, clumsiness, poor gait, and impaired fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It also may cause another related disorder called Sensory Integration Disorder or SID. There is a lack of studies on children who were not diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome but may be affected by even their limited prenatal alcohol intake. Read more.

April 18, 2008

Manitoba bill to make FASD reportable

Winnipeg Free Press reports: Manitoba Liberal Leader Dr. Jon Gerrard introduced a private-member's bill Thursday that, if accepted, would make the diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder cases reportable to Manitoba's chief medical officer of health. Gerrard said if FASD cases were reported, the child and family services agencies and schools could better plan prevention and treatment. Gerrard also said if identified and treated early, many FASD children would not fall through the cracks and become involved in the criminal justice system. Read more.

April 17, 2008

Violence on streets linked to drinking in pregnancy

Scotland's chief medical officer reports: foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a key element in behaviour problems once the babies grow up. The problems caused by pregnant women drinking are known to include behavioural and learning difficulties as well as constrained growth for the children affected, and the health chief thinks it is directly linked to anti-social behaviour on Scotland's streets.

He said the only major study of prevalence of the FASD problem, including the more serious cases known as foetal alcohol syndrome, was carried out in Italy, which would not pick up the specific problems of Scottish drinking habits. That found up to 4% of schoolchildren were affected, or one in 25, and concluded that the Italian habit of drinking wine with meals had a similar impact to binge-drinking in other countries. Read more.

April 5, 2008

Coalition sets out to change attitudes about drugs, alcohol

Mohave Daily News reports: Vicki Brewster said her story began 12 years ago with a teenage girl who drank habitually. As a result, three children - now ages 9, 10 and 11 - will go through life needing around-the-clock supervision due to brain damage they suffered in the early fetal stages. It's because the children - all of whom Brewster adopted after first taking into foster care - suffer from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Read more.

March 14, 2008

Alcohol More Damaging to Fetus than Meth

Arizona Capitol Times: Alcohol consumption is more dangerous for a developing fetus than any other drug, including meth. That might surprise many Arizonans, but it's common knowledge in the medical community.

"It is exactly opposite of what people might expect, but fetal-alcohol syndrome is far more prevalent, and the fetus is much more at risk from fetal alcohol syndrome," said Frank Scarpati, director of Phoenix nonprofit Community Bridges.

A fetus exposed to alcohol is at risk of lifelong disabilities and disorders, while the same is not true for meth use during pregnancy, Scarpati said. Read more.

March 13 2008

Former MN Governor Fights to Include FASD in Budget

Minnesota Public Radio Reports: Carlson told members of a Senate panel that he disagrees with Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal to use part of the state's Health Care Access Fund to solve a state budget shortfall... Carlson also urged state legislators to preserve funding for a program that addresses birth defects caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy, which would be cut under Pawlenty's budget plan. Carlson says that cut would mean the program's funding will have been reduced by 80 percent since his administration. Carlson's wife was instrumental in calling state attention to fetal alcohol syndrome. Carlson says roughly 20 percent of the men and women housed in Minnesota correctional facilities are impaired by fetal alcohol syndrome. Read more.

March 10, 2008

WHO policy protects children from effects of alcohol

WHO Euro Region Framework for Alcohol Policy: This has 5 ethical principles which includes "All children and adolescents have the right to grow up in an environment protected from the negative consequences of alcohol consumption and, to the extent possible, from the promotion of alcoholic beverages." Strategies for action include the following:

Enhance the capacity of society to deal with alcohol through the training of professionals in different sectors, such as health, social welfare, education and the judiciary, along with the strengthening of community development and leadership.

Support nongovernmental organizations and self-help movements that promote healthy lifestyles, specifi cally those aiming to prevent or reduce alcohol-related harm. Read full text here

March 5, 2008

Newborn screening for prenatal alcohol exposure

Journal of Pediatrics published research results of meconium study: The levels of fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE), which are produced when alcohol is broken down in the digestive system, were measured in the first bowel movement of 216 newborns. The babies were then given developmental tests at the ages of six months, one year, and two years. Infants with higher levels of FAEE in their first bowel movement were found to be at risk for developmental disorders. Read more.

February 26, 2008

Children with FAS considered to be among least “desirable” to care for by prospective foster parents

National Council on Disability Report: Youth with Disabilities in the Foster Care System: Barriers to Success and Proposed Policy Solutions.

The study determined that the youth prospective foster parents consider least “desirable” to care for are those with HIV, teenagers, those with fetal alcohol syndrome, drug-exposed infants, youth with physical disabilities or serious illnesses, and youth with serious emotional or behavioral problems. The behavioral problems that these adults determined to be least acceptable were fire starting, behaving destructively, and acting out sexually. Of course, youth who are less desirable to care for are more likely to remain in the foster care system for several years and are also more likely to be institutionalized.The prevalence of negative outcomes associated with both long-term and institutionalized foster youth means that more targeted investment in healthy, accurate placements, as well as permanency for these youth, is especially necessary. Read more.

February 4, 2008

Eye Blinks May ID Fetal Alcohol Exposure

Wayne State University School of Medicine Report: Eye blinking may help doctors identify children exposed to alcohol during pregnancy but who don't have the distinctive facial features usually associated with the exposure, a new study suggests.

"Eyeblink conditioning (EBC) is a Pavlovian paradigm that involves temporal pairing of a conditioned stimulus, such as a tone, with an unconditioned stimulus, such as an air puff," study first author Sandra W. Jacobson, a professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Wayne State University School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement. Read more.

January 10, 2008

Fetal Alcohol more frequent and as disabling as Autism

Ontario newspaper editorial comment:The Standard's article on the scientific roots of austin was encouraging. The public should be pleased that resources are being devoted to this disorder. However, the Autism Society's statement that more children are affficted with autism than with any other neurological defect is incorrect. Another less-well-known neurological condition affects about one per cent of all babies born in this country, which is a considerably higher occurrence then that of autism.

More significantly, in some Canadian communities, 20 per cent of children or more are born with permanent brain and nervous system damage not from autism, but from another disorder. The other condition, like autism, is characterized by brain and nervous system malfunction. Like autism, it is a serious lifetime disability and its sufferers need ongoing external supports to live in the community. Read more.

December 24, 2007

The Adult Face of Fetal Alcohol

Anchorage Daily News - story about Justin Scott: Justin Scott sits at his dining room table dabbing pink frosting on a snowman sugar cookie and humming "Silent Night." The chaos of his young niece and nephew decorating their own cookies bubbles around him.

If the 20-year-old could sing to his family maybe he would. But Justin can't form the words to talk. His best communication is through jerky motions of American Sign Language. Read more.

December 12, 2007

Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol Increase Odds of Later Alcohol Abuse

Amareican Psychological Association Newswire: Young people whose mothers drank when pregnant may be more likely to abuse alcohol because, in the womb, their developing senses came to prefer its taste and smell. Researchers with the State University of New York Developmental Ethanol Research Center have found that because the developing nervous system adapts to whatever mothers eat and drink, young rats exposed to alcohol (ethanol) in the womb drank significantly more alcohol than non-exposed rats. Read more.

December 3, 2007

New science on fetal alcohol exposure

Minnesota Public Radio Special Report: When a pregnant woman drinks, she risks giving birth to a child with permanent brain damage. Doctors and those who work with these children are learning more about what is called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Research projects around the world aim to learn more about what happens when a fetus is exposed to alcohol.

Researchers in South Dakota know, just by comparing two brains, which one was exposed to alcohol. The alcohol-exposed brain is smaller, smoother, flat. Children with full fetal alcohol syndrome also have distinctive facial features -- their eyes are close together and the area beneath their nose is flat. Read more.

December 3, 2007

Austrailia call for action on babies damaged by mothers drinking

Amareican Psychological Association Newswire: A HIDDEN generation of brain-damaged children is being born with foetal alcohol disorders but a huge gap in expertise is forcing many families to go overseas for help, experts have claimed.

A hard-hitting campaign launched today will warn that one in 100 Australian newborns could be suffering irreversible brain damage caused by alcohol exposure in the womb.

Sufferers can have birth defects, learning difficulties and complex behavioural issues. But only 2% of doctors feel confident in detecting the condition and many children are misdiagnosed with attention deficit disorders, hyperactivity and autism. Read more.

November 26, 2007

Ghana: Pregnant Women Warned to Stay Off Alcohol

The Ghana Organisation on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome states: the consumption of alcohol in the country is on the rise but Ghanaians are ignoring its devastating effects on consumers. The Association said the consumption of alcohol is largely to blame for the high rise in mental and physical disability cases in the country, which people continue to attribute to curse from their families. Read more.

November 25, 2007

American Indians and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Minnesota Tribal Officils say: fetal alcohol syndrome is linked to a high number of children with learning disabilities and higher drop out and prison rates on Indian reservations.

Minnesota Public Radio, as part of a six-part series on fetal alcohol syndrome, examined how the condition affects American Indians in the state. According to CDC studies, the fetal alcohol rate among American Indians is 30 times higher than the rate among whites. The syndrome affects 40,000 infants in the U.S. each year, MPR reports. Listen here. Read more.

November 22, 2007

Doctor of Alta teen who killed youth worker says FAS like shotgun blast to brain

Lethbridge Herald News Report: The doctor of a teen suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome who murdered a youth worker says the malady has the same effect on the brain as a shotgun blast. Sharla Marie Collier, 20, was killed Nov. 16, 2002, while out walking in a riverbed with a 14-year-old boy who was a resident at a home for children with fetal alcohol syndrome in Lethbridge, Alta. Read more.

November 20, 2007

Maternal Alcohol Drinking During Pregnancy Associated With Risk For Childhood Conduct Problems

Science Daily Report: Maternal alcohol drinking during pregnancy appears to be associated with conduct problems in children, independently of other risk factors, according to a report in the November issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

The study found that children more frequently exposed to alcohol during pregnancy had more conduct problems than their siblings who were exposed to less prenatal alcohol. Read more.

November 18, 2007

Expert links autism to mothers drinking

Moderate drinking during pregnancy could be the hidden cause of thousands of serious childhood disorders including autism. Dr Maggie Watts, vice chairman on alcohol for the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams, fears that even low levels of drinking could be related to a range of behavioural problems in young children, the cause of which has previously been a mystery.

But she said many could be misdiagnosed as suffering from autism and other neurodevelopmental problems because doctors do not ask mothers about their pregnancy drinking habits when making their diagnosis. Read more. Related journal article: Autism Families with a High Incidence of Alcoholism.

November 15, 2007

Alcohol report slammed by Australian experts

Herald Sun: FASD experts call UK report misleading. A REPORT claiming there is little evidence that binge drinking during pregnancy harms unborn children has been slammed by Australian experts.

While the scientists behind the report have called for more research to be undertaken, and recommend pregnant women still avoid binge drinking, Australian health workers have criticised them for sending mixed messages.

Mercy Hospital for Women neonatologist Philip Henschke said the report was misleading because the research examined only babies in the first months of their lives, before the age when many of the well-documented consequences of fetal alcohol syndrome first appeared. Read more.

November 13, 2007

UK Report Claims Occasional Binge Drinking During Pregnancy Not Harmful

ABC News Medical Unit: A new study that downplays the risks of binge drinking during pregnancy could give some party-prone women the wrong idea, medical experts say.

The study, in which researchers at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom gathered the results of research on binge drinking and its effects on pregnancy published from 1970 to 2005, suggests there is little evidence that occasional alcohol consumption -- and even a binge or two -- causes lasting harm to unborn babies. Read more.

November 1, 2007

Judy Pakozdy Retires from FASSY

Whitehorse Daily Star: FASSY executive director will leave territory next year A voice and advocate for those who live with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) will be leaving the territory next year. As the executive director of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Society of the Yukon (FASSY), Judy Pakozdy has worked to help the public gain a better understanding of FAS and improve the quality of life for those living with the condition.

“I think I’m pretty burnt-out. I’ve worked with the FAS issues for 35 years now and it’s time for someone else to do it,” she told reporters last week. “I think I finally faced the fact I can’t change their lives so I need to get out of here,” she commented.

It’s hard, too, she said, to work with very “well-meaning” people who want to help, but don’t seem to understand that FASD is not a behaviour issue, but rather brain damage.

“If these people (with FASD) were walking around after a car accident with big scars on their head, or were walking around with the face of Down Syndrome, would they be filling our jails, would they be living on the streets? No, they wouldn’t,” Pakozdy said, noting that while she can’t change that maybe someone else can. Read more.

October 30, 2007

What's behind the health claims of beer and wine?

CBC Report: Spin the Bottle: Tim Stockwell directs the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia. He says while “it seems to be quite an industry pumping out stories” about the merits of drinking and health, “we need better quality scientific research of this subject … most of the research that has been done, how it measures alcohol consumption, is poor.”

Stockwell claims that “at least 90 per cent of studies on heart disease have failed to take into account one very important source of bias … these studies are showing that people who drink a bit live longer than people who don’t drink at all – abstainers. The trouble is, those abstainers are often ... people who have given up drinking for health reasons.”

“Overall, the harm related to alcohol outweighs the benefits,” says Dr. Jurgen Rehm, of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. And Dr. Rehm has another worrisome message – alcohol can cause cancer:

“There are clear relations for alcohol to several cancers, all the cancers from the head and neck, meaning esophagus cancer, lip cancer, going into the stomach cancer, and then the colorectal cancers – which are related negatively to alcohol … If you drink, you increase your risk of cancer.”

Worldwide, drinking causes almost as much harm as smoking: that’s the word from the World Health Organization. In fact, the WHO recently made fighting the harm caused by alcohol a top priority. Read more.

September 28,  2007

Pregnant Nicole Richie Enrolls in Alcohol Education Program

People Magazine Article: Nicole Richie, who is six months pregnant, has enrolled in a lengthy anti-drinking education program, according to documents obtained by PEOPLE.

Papers filed with the Superior Court of California show that on Sept. 26 Richie signed up for a 18-month anti-drinking driver course, known as the SB 38 Alcohol Program.

SB 38 is for people who have been convicted of DUI on more than one occasion within a 7-year period, the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse states on its Web site.

The program consists of 52 hours of group counseling, bi-weekly face-to-face interviews and 12 hours of alcohol education, according to the council. Participants are also encouraged to attend 12-step meetings.  [More]

FASD News Blog Archive: Reports from February 2004 - March 2007



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