I would like to remind everyone in our community that Sept. 9 is International FASD Awareness Day. Throughout the week beginning Sunday, many organizations and individuals in Juneau will be holding events to bring much needed attention to this saddening, wholly avoidable group of disorders.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders include a range of physical and mental disabilities that can occur in someone whose mother drank alcohol while pregnant. Including problems with learning, hearing, memory, and speech, these disorders are often very severe. And while the effects of FASD can be treated, they are nonetheless irreversible.
We are in a FASD crisis in Alaska. Our state has the highest rate of FASDs in the country. Sufferers from FASDs need compassion and treatment. Just as importantly, every Alaskan - male and female alike - must learn about the terrible risk a woman takes if she drinks while pregnant.
Awareness is the key. FASDs are 100 percent preventable. Alaskans simply need to understand how hugely important it is to avoid all alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.
Please take time next week to join in an event to raise awareness of FASD. You can call Ric Iannolino at 463-7373 for more information on the goings-on. In taking part, you will help in the urgent effort to prevent needless tragedies.
State representative, House District 4