FASD is the leading known cause of developmental disability in Canada. An estimated 4% of Canadians, or 1,451,600 people, have FASD. This means there are approximately 174,000 Albertans with FASD.
According to the latest results from the 2017 Canadian Tobacco Alcohol and Drugs Survey, 77% of Canadian women reported consuming an alcoholic beverage in the past year. Given that approximately 60% of pregnancies are reported to be unplanned, a significant number of unborn babies are at a high risk of prenatal exposure to alcohol. A recent survey found that of almost 90% of Albertans who were aware of FASD, 48% reported knowing someone with FASD or someone caring for an individual with FASD.
There is no safe time or safe amount of alcohol to drink when pregnant or when planning to become pregnant. Yet, according to a University of Calgary longitudinal pregnancy study, 49% of Alberta women reported drinking some alcohol during pregnancy, including before they realized they were pregnant.
The personal, social and economic impacts of FASD are profound. The prevalence of FASD is greater than Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Down’s Syndrome combined. FASD can be preventable by supporting women to have healthy pregnancies. FASD can have significant personal impacts on individuals, families and caregivers.
Alberta’s FASD Strategy focuses on developing and delivering community-based solutions, making it easier for people affected by FASD to get the help they need, at any point during their life. FASD-related initiatives across Alberta continue to help build awareness, promote prevention, increase access to FASD assessment and diagnosis clinics, conduct new research and provide supports and services for people with FASD, their families and caregivers.
Retrieved from https://www.alberta.ca/fasd-in-alberta.aspx (October 2020)