Each September, we recognize Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Month to bring awareness to the many individuals and families who are impacted by the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol in Colorado and across the United States.
What is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)?
FASD, an umbrella term used to describe a range of effects that can occur in a fetus exposed to alcohol before birth, is the most commonly known cause of developmental disabilities in the United States.
While the exact number of people who have FASDs is unknown, it is estimated that up to 1 in 20 U.S. school children may have an FASD, with 1 in 7 pregnancies being alcohol-exposed. In Colorado in particular, an estimated 15.4% of pregnant individuals in our state drank alcohol during the last 3 months of their pregnancy, according to the most recently available Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data.
Have questions about the relationship between alcohol, pregnancy and FASD? Learn more on our Alcohol & Pregnancy topic page.
When children, adults, and families impacted by FASD receive appropriate diagnoses, supports, and services, secondary impacts of FASD—such as dropping out of school, getting into trouble with the law, and substance use—can be prevented, and impacted individuals and families can thrive.
While we know the importance of providing appropriate services for pregnant people impacted by alcohol use and families who are impacted by FASD, significant and concerning gaps in FASD-related preventive, diagnostic and clinical resources are common in Colorado and throughout the United States.
The Time is Now!
This September, we have a particularly momentous opportunity to build on and improve our nation and the state of Colorado’s efforts to prevent alcohol use during pregnancy, support those who are struggling with alcohol use during the perinatal period, and provide concrete supports to individuals and families impacted by FASD.
The “FASD Respect Act” (S. 2238 and H.R. 4151), legislation currently being considered at the federal level, would reauthorize vital funding for prevention, screening, identification, research, and FASD-informed services.
It reauthorizes and strengthens existing federal FASD programs, replaces the defunct National FAS Taskforce with a National Advisory Council on FASD, and establishes a FASD Center of Excellence as the go-to entity for state, tribal and local governments and non-governmental stakeholders seeking to develop or improve best practices for prevention, diagnosis, and intervention services. Find more information about the proposed legislation here.
How Can I Show My Respect for Coloradans Impacted by FASD?
Whether you are an individual Coloradan or a Colorado organization that cares about ensuring that those who are using alcohol during pregnancy and those impacted by FASDs are treated with the respect they deserve and receive the support that they need, we need YOU to help ensure that Congress passes this vital legislation.
- To advocate for the passage of the FASD Respect Act on behalf of an organization, sign on to the Letter of Support.
- To advocate for the passage of the FASD Respect Act as an individual, reach out to Colorado’s senators and the representative for your district to schedule a meeting.
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