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Governor Perdue Declares Fetal Alcohol Awareness Day

 

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
For Release: Immediate Date: September 7, 2012
Contact: Julie Henry, 919-855-4840

RALEIGH – To draw attention to the only 100-percent preventable birth defect, Gov. Bev Perdue has declared Sunday, Sept. 9, to be Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day, with events scheduled across the state.

“Too many of our children are born into a life of frustration, through no fault of their own, because of the choices their mothers made,” Gov. Perdue said. “Any woman who is pregnant, or believes she may be pregnant, should check with her doctor before consuming any alcohol. Your baby’s life is too important to do otherwise.”

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umberella term that includes fetal alcohol syndrome. The disorder refers to a range of birth defects caused by a mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

“It is estimated that 1 of every 100 births in the United States, or 40,000 infants total, are born each year with FASD,” said Jim Jarrard, acting director of the N. C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (DMH/DD/SAS). “It can cause birth defects, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, attention deficits and behavior disorders.”

The effects of FASD last a lifetime and individuals with FASD often have numerous social disorders such as disrupted school experience, juvenile delinquency, homelessness, mental health and substance abuse issues, unemployment, and criminal behavior.

“All of these disorders are 100 percent preventable,” said Jarrard. “By raising awareness of this issue, we hope to reduce the number of children whose lives are damaged by this avoidable and tragic disease.”

To mark the Awareness Day this Sunday, congregations in the Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington areas will be distributing materials and speaking on the subject during worship services. A public service awareness campaign will take place via social media and on local television stations across the state. To view the public service announcement, visit the DHHS YouTube channel at (LINK). Additional information can be found online at www.ncpregnancy.org.

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Media Alert: Kathy Hotelling, a parent of a child with fetal alcohol syndrome, will speak about her experiences raising a daughter who is affected by prenatal alcohol exposure to the congregation of South Central Church of Christ—Raleigh, 2010 Martin Luther King Junior Blvd., at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Senior minister Brother Michael Dublin Sr. will also speak on the topic, based on his experience as a certified substance abuse prevention specialist. Media representatives are welcome to attend the services and film the speakers.

To speak with an expert in the area of FASD, contact Amy Hendricks, project coordinator of the North Carolina Fetal Alcohol Prevention Program, toll-free at 888-810-2800 or amy.hendricks@msj.org.

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