Children at Risk
In a long and very comprehensive discussion recently with Jim Bett, Service Manager at Fife Alcohol Support Service (FASS), he stated that “In Scotland, alcohol consumption in women of childbearing age is common and is recognised as a significant public health issue. It is estimated that approximately 3.2% of babies born are affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which is three to four times the rate of autism, meaning that as many as 172,00 people could be affected by the disorder in Scotland. A recent study in Glasgow noted the meconium of newborn babies and found that 42% of samples showed evidence of the mother having consumed alcohol during pregnancy, with 15% of those pregnancies exposed to very high levels of alcohol.”
Jim continued “This information and these statistics are very concerning to us all and puts an enormous strain, both physically and financially on the NHS, who have to identify and treat those people at risk of FASD, and also the parents and carers, adoptive and fostering services, supportive organisations like FASS in the voluntary sector, and also policy makers.”
“It is true to say that improved labelling on cans and bottles containing alcoholic drinks would help, and there are moves afoot to bring in new legislation for this, but it will need to be of a similar nature to the information now displayed on packets of cigarettes and have a “shock” factor to really bring home the message that alcohol during pregnancy has real and very dangerous effects.”
Jim concluded by commenting that “Our FASS counsellors are engaged in these types of problems every single week and we would encourage those who are already pregnant or are trying for a family to consider the effects of alcohol and change their drinking habits by eliminating alcohol altogether for the ultimate benefit of the child involved. If anybody needs help with this, they can call FASS on 01592 206200 for a free and confidential counselling service which operates throughout Fife.
Just dial FASS on 01592 206200 – it can be a lifesaver!”