Date Published: 26 July 2019
Canadian Government initiatives against Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an expression used to refer to the effects on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to enough alcohol to cause lasting harm. It is a lifelong developmental disability that affects many people throughout the world including many Canadians. People with FASD experience some degree of challenges in their daily lives, and can require support with motor skills, physical health, learning, memory, attention, emotional regulation and / or social skills.
Canadian Minister of Health, The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, has recently announced more than $1.8 million Canadian dollars of funding over four years to support new projects to increase public awareness and understanding of FASD, as well as risks of prenatal alcohol exposure.
" By investing in projects that raise awareness and understanding about FASD in Canada, Canadians will have better access to information about the risks of prenatal alcohol use and additional resources that can help prevent this disorder. I am proud to support these projects to help reduce the prevalence of FASD in Canada."
The projects are being funded under the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)'s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder National Strategic Projects Fund. It aims to prevent FASD and to improve the outcomes for those affected by FASD through the development of knowledge, tools and resources.
2019 is the 20th anniversary of the Canadian government's FASD Initiative. Over the past 20 years, more than $27 million Canadian dollars have been devoted to projects supporting individuals living with FASD, their families and caregivers across Canada. The funding also assists health care and service providers to provide information about the possible effects of excessive prenatal alcohol use and to diagnose and treat people living with FASD.
Although through many generations some expectant mothers worldwide have been drinking moderate amounts of alcohol without indications of any adverse consequences, the recent news release on canada.ca1 states that there is currently no known safe amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy. Every pregnant woman makes her own decisions about a wide range of issues during such an important part of her life. Without condoning interference with anyone's personal choices, in the context of this news item about the funding of projects concerned with FASD in Canada, it is fitting to mention that Canada's Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines2 recommend that if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, the safest choice is to drink no alcohol at all.