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Alaska Observes International FAS Awareness Day Sept. 9
Governor Murkowski issues FAS Awareness Day Proclamation


September 09, 2004

Recognizing the critical need to prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and all birth defects resulting from prenatal exposure to alcohol, Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski issued an FAS Awareness Day proclamation calling for all Alaskans to "promote public awareness and understanding of the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol; to enhance our statewide prevention efforts; to increase compassion for those individuals so affected; to minimize the lifelong effects of FASD; and to ensure healthier communities across Alaska in the future."

In conjunction with FAS Awareness Day, the Department of Health and Social Services Division of Behavioral Health and the Governor's Office have developed a series of public service announcements to help educate Alaskans about the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Several of the spots feature the Governor and Nancy Murkowski talking about their concerns related to fetal alcohol syndrome. The series begins airing across the
state today.

FAS Awareness Day 2004 marks the sixth year for this international awareness event. It arises from parents and caregivers of children, youth and adults with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) coming together to increase awareness about the affects of prenatal exposure to alcohol.

Communities from across Alaska, from Nome to Ketchikan, hosted activities to celebrate International FAS Awareness Day. Alaskans were asked to take time for a "minute of reflection" at 9:09 a.m. (the ninth minute of 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 mayoral proclamations in Anchorage and Kenai; ringing of bells at 9:09 a.m. in Anchorage; ringing of bells and a breakfast sponsored by the American Legion in Kenai; and viewing of "A Life Sentence" on the local Kotzebue/Kiana station throughout the day. In Ketchikan, a movement of silence was held at the Men and Women Wellness Conference which at Ted Ferry Civic Center with a discussion during the conference on FASD. The broken cord (symbol of FASD) will be distributed throughout the Ketchikan community and there a rally at the downtown tunnel was planned at 5:00 pm.

FAS is 100 percent preventable, yet it is still the leading cause of mental retardation in Alaska and the United States. If women do not drink alcohol during 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 a growing child.


For more information:

Office of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


Source of News:

Office of the Governor
Web Site


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