Communities across Northern Health join with other communities across Canada and the world in support of International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention Day on September 9. This day, the ninth day of the ninth month, was chosen to underline how important it is to support women to avoid drinking alcohol in the nine months of pregnancy.
FASD is the most common cause of preventable developmental disabilities in Canada. It is estimated that every year nine out of every 1,000 babies in Canada are born with FASD. Many Canadians are living with the lifelong effects of FASD and do not know it.
FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of harms caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. These may include lifelong physical, mental, behavioural, and/or learning disabilities. FASD has a broad social impact, with many individuals requiring lifelong support to cope with the demands of daily life. It can affect anyone regardless of income, education, community or background. Health, social, educational and justice systems are involved on the community and provincial levels, with the cost to Canada of approximately $5.3 billion per year.
Community members, health and social service providers, and local decision makers all have a role to play in supporting pregnant women to avoid alcohol during pregnancy and raising awareness that there is no safe amount, no safe type and no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy.
Northern Health urges all community members to be a part of raising awareness about FASD and its prevention. Many communities across the North will be hosting FASD events on September 9, 2012. Look for an FASD event in your community and demonstrate your support by attending.