Communities across state host activities for fifth year of awareness event
September 09, 2003
Ketchikan City Mayor Bob Weinstein and Ketchikan Borough Mayor Mike Salazar have both issued proclamations recognizing the day.
FAS Day 2003 marks the fifth year for this international awareness event that began in 1999 as a result of parents and caregivers of children, youth and adults with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) coming together to increase awareness about FAS and all birth defects resulting from prenatal exposure to alcohol.
FAS is 100% preventable yet it is still the leading cause of mental retardation in Alaska and the United States. If women do not drink alcohol-any alcohol-during the nine months of pregnancy, alcohol-related birth defects will be eliminated. There is no known safe amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy-any alcohol consumption during pregnancy has the potential to harm the growing child.
Communities across Alaska, from Barrow to Ketchikan, will be hosting activities to celebrate International FAS Awareness Day, asking everyone to take time for a "minute of reflection" on the ninth hour, of the ninth day, of the ninth month to remember that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should abstain from alcohol. Events include a birthday cake celebration in Nome to honor all babies who will be born in the region in the coming year; mayoral proclamations in Wasilla, Anchorage and Haines; ringing of bells and a breakfast sponsored by the American Legion in Kenai; and call in radio shows in Copper River/Glennallen (Coffee Break) and statewide through APRN Talk of Alaska.
According to the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services, the state of Alaska has initiated an aggressive agenda related to fetal alcohol syndrome-working to both prevent future FAS births and to improve the lifetime outcomes for those individuals who already have birth defects related to prenatal alcohol exposure thanks to the support of Senator Ted Stevens. Through a 5-year $29 million dollar federal grant, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, with a diverse, multidisciplinary partnership of private and public entities, has begun broad efforts to create a statewide system of outreach, education and systems change to improve all FAS-related services.
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