Alaskans would recognize September 9th of every year as FASD Awareness Day
JUNEAU- Today, the Alaska State Senate passedSenate Bill 127, which establishes September 9th each year as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day. FASD Awareness Day is recognized worldwide and raises awareness about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy as well as the difficulties for individuals and families who struggle with FASD.
“Alaska has the highest known incidence of FASD in the United States,” said Senator Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), the prime sponsor of the bill. “This is a condition caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol, which can result in permanent brain damage, birth defects, learning disabilities, behavioral problems and most tragically, the loss of individual potential.”
FASD Awareness Day is observed internationally on September 9th, which serves as a reminder on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman needs to stop drinking alcohol.
“What is so frustrating is that this is 100-percent preventable,” said Senator Meyer. “Attitudes and behavior towards drunk driving and smoking have shifted. I think with increased awareness and education we can turn the tide on FASD.”
Awareness of FASD doesn’t just have an effect on women who are pregnant, it can also have an impact on the treatment of toddlers and children diagnosed with the condition.
“For children who do not receive appropriate support, understanding and accommodations, their problems become more troubling and tragic in adolescence and adulthood,” said Senator Meyer. “An early FASD diagnosis can lead to a better outcome, if the services and programs are in place to support these children and their families.”
Senate Bill 127 now goes to the House for further consideration.
For more information, contact Senator Meyer or Christine Marasigan at 907-465-4945.