Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Town of Pincher Creek Council proclaims September as FASD awareness month

Toni Lucas - During the regular meeting of Pincher Creek's Town Council on Monday evening, August 22 council heard from Pincher Creek McMan Agency Representative Wayne Camber, who addressed Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) issues.  Camber spoke about FASD and requested September be proclaimed FASD month in the Town of Pincher Creek. "FASD is fetal alcohol exposure that causes permanent brain damage," said Camber.  He explained that the cost of FASD within Alberta is $350,000 per day, according to one study held in 2011. Camber said approximately 500 babies are born annually with FASD in Alberta. "As I have said, FASD is 100% preventable, and the results are permanent."

 "Basically, what we are saying is if you are pregnant, you are planning a family, or you think you may be pregnant, avoid alcohol. Don't take the chance," said Camber.

Council unanimously agreed to proclaim September as FASD month in Pincher Creek. September 9 is International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day.

Camber told council that FASD is a completely preventable disorder that can have cognitive, behavioral, motor skill and physical outcomes. It can affect language, intellect, learning, long and short term memory, social skills, adaptive skills, and sensory issues. There is support for youths with this condition, but when someone with FASD becomes an adults that support is reduced or withdrawn altogether and they can get lost within the system of society. Camber explained there are studies which claim a high rate of incarcerated people may have FASD disorders. He said 35% of adults with FASD disorders end up dealing with their own alcohol or drug related issues, and 95% have mental health issues. Employment issues and homelessness are other issues adults with this disorder face.

Camber said there will be workshops held locally on September 16 and September 30, and other awareness raising initiatives throughout the month of September.

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