“ At NOFASD, across Australia, and around the world people took a minute today to pause and reflect on the struggles which individuals , families and communities face when they are living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
At 9:09 on the 9th day of the 9th month we came together to raise awareness about the risks of alcohol and the importance of alcohol-free pregnancies.”
See NO FASD Press Release Part 2 Below
“ Before the extra years were added to his sentence and before the trouble that led to them, authorities were warned that a teenage boy with severe cognitive impairments was deteriorating in Darwin’s Don Dale youth detention centre and needed help.
- A 17-year-old boy was recently sentenced to an additional four years’ jail over a riot in Don Dale in July 2018
- The ABC has seen letters sent to authorities weeks before the riot, requesting urgent intervention
- A Supreme Court judge accepted that conditions in the prison contributed to the boy’s offending
Legal letters seen by the ABC formally requesting urgent intervention in then-16-year-old Corey’s* “outrageous” treatment in the condemned facility were sent to the head of the Territory Families department and the NT Children’s Commissioner in June last year.
Legal Aid lawyers told authorities that the teenager — who has foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and a history of trauma starting from abandonment in hospital at birth — had been kept in effective isolation, with little fresh air, sunlight and schooling, and had been threatened and assaulted by other boys inside Don Dale.
A spokesperson said Aboriginal health organisation Danila Dilba was taking over primary health care in the centre, support services had been “significantly” increased and an FASD component was added to staff induction training.
Olga Havnen, who is the chief executive of Danila Dilba, said Corey had been set up to fail in a system that couldn’t help him.
She said the teenager’s conviction for property damage to Don Dale was ironic, asking: “Who pays for the damage caused to this young person?”
Part 1 RACP Press Release
Doctors from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) are calling for the Australian Government to introduce mandatory pregnancy warning labels on alcohol products.
“Drinking alcohol while pregnant can lead to birth defects and lifelong neurodevelopmental problems associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASD),” said Professor Paul Colditz, President of Paediatrics and Child Health at the RACP and an alcohol policy expert.
“FASD is the most common and preventable cause of serious brain injury in children in Australia. There is no cure for FASD, so prevention is everything. This is why clear and unambiguous messaging on the harms of drinking while pregnant is important and why such messaging should be mandatory across all alcohol product labels.
“With less than half of alcohol manufacturers currently using pregnancy warning labels we can’t look to the industry to self-regulate.
“There is also an inherent conflict of interest under the current approach where consumers are ultimately directed towards industry websites for warning information and may be exposed to contradictory messages.”
In its submission to the Food Regulation Standing Committee, the RACP makes a number of evidence-based recommendations about how to implement mandatory pregnancy warning labels.
The RACP recommends that behaviour change experts develop new text for warning labels. Graphics should feature on the label to convey the harms of alcohol to an unborn baby.
Consistency of messaging is important so warning labels should be standardised across the industry. Prominence of the labelling is also important.
“We know that pregnancy warning labels alone are not enough to prevent FASD, but we think it’s a step in the right direction for raising public awareness about the dangers of prenatal alcohol exposure,” Professor Colditz said.
The National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016 found only 56 per cent of pregnant women said they abstained from drinking during pregnancy.
Part 2 NO FASD Press Release Continued
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) reports that 50% of Australian women experience an unplanned pregnancy.
The first few weeks of these unknown pregnancies are a major risk for prenatal alcohol exposure. Approximately 59% of Australian women drink alcohol at some time during their pregnancy, and estimates indicate that 1 in every 13 women who consume alcohol will have a child with FASD.
These numbers are staggering. The AMA states that “few accurate data on the prevalence of FASD in Australia is available but it is estimated that FASD affects roughly between 2% and 5% of the population in the United States”.
FASD is the most common preventable disability, and preventing FASD is a whole-of-community responsibility. Mothers never intentionally put their children at risk. Increasing awareness about the risks of drinking when you could be pregnant, and supporting women who are pregnant to abstain throughout their nine months, is essential for preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancies.
If you are pregnant, don’t drink alcohol. If you drink alcohol, don’t get pregnant.
Friends and partners can play a major role in supporting mothers to be alcohol free. For example it is much easier for a woman to say no to alcohol if her partner stops drinking too. We can support expectant mothers by organising fun alcohol-free activities, serving non-alcoholic drinks, and reducing or ceasing our own drinking.
If you, or anyone you know, is pregnant, planning or could be, NO ALCOHOL is the safest option