September is FASD Awareness Month

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder

September is FASD Awareness Month (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder). This is an expansion of FASD Awareness Day that has been held each year on September 9th since 1999. People all around the world gather for events to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol use during pregnancy and the challenges of individuals and families living with FASD. The first awareness day was celebrated on 9/9/99. This day was chosen so that on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, the world will remember that during the nine months of pregnancy, the safest option is to abstain from alcohol. Statistics show that approximately half of all pregnancies are unplanned and the rates of drinking during childbearing age are substantial; thus, there is ongoing risk of having children born who are affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol (Finer & Zolna, 2011; Green, McKnight-Eily, Tan, Mejia, & Denny, 2016). The estimated prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is conservatively around 1%; however, a recent study in North America found rates as high as 4.8% of the school-age population is affected by prenatal alcohol exposure, indicating a significant public health concern (May et al., 2014; May et al., 2015). While research continues to be completed regarding this public health concern, September is a month we honor all who are living with FASD. We must remember to spread the word that the best information is 0-4-9. Zero alcohol four nine months. Please take time to join a social media group or an activity in your community to spread the word!