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 Attention EFAN Society Members!  

It is that time of the year.  Membership fees are due.  Membership fees is $20. Please make cheques payable to Bissell Centre and send it to EFAN.

For those attending the EFAN Monthly Meeting, we will have receipts on site. If you wish to make your payment then, we will be able to provide you with a receipt.

Please contact Yolanda Caberto @ for any questions regarding this.

Click here to download invoice:


Epigenetics studies of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: where are we now?

The Prevention Conversation: A Shared Responsibility Project

The study of epigenetic mechanisms is fast on its way to becoming an important method for understanding and potentially diagnosing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

“Epigenetics studies of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder,” a recent review published in Future Medicine by a team of Kids Brain Health Network researchers found that several epigenetic mechanisms are affected by alcohol, which could explain many of the neurobiological deficits and abnormalities associated with prenatal alcohol exposure.

“This area of research holds more promise than ever,” says Dr. Joanne Weinberg, co-author of the review.

Fetal alcohol syndrome was coined nearly 40 years ago, and is the most severe end of the FASD spectrum, characterized by distinctive facial features and extreme cognitive delays. However, the spectrum is quite broad and depends on many factors including the level of alcohol exposure and genetic background. At the milder end of the spectrum, symptoms can be as inconspicuous as…

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FASD symposium tackles Truth and Reconciliation recommendations


A national symposium hosted in Regina this week focused on how best to address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action regarding fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

One recommendation calls for culturally appropriate prevention of FASD and the other for improving the way the justice system deals with people who have the disorder.

“We need new ways to think about these issues,” said University of Regina associate professor Michelle Stewart, who helped organize the symposium.

The report’s recommendations call on all Canadians to think about what the legacies of residential schools might have to do with the prevalence of FASD in Indigenous populations, Stewart said.

This involves looking at the root causes of why a woman would drink while pregnant.

Policy makers, researchers, police chiefs, frontline workers and students attended the presentations and round table discussions at the symposium, which featured speakers came from British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and New Brunswick.


Michelle Stewart said it was fitting to have the national symposium in Saskatchewan because there is a disproportionate number of Indigenous people in the justice system here and of Indigenous children in care. (Truth and Reconciliation Commission)

The symposium also heard from affected mothers.

Stewart said it’s important to change the way professionals interact with mothers of children with FASD.

“Sometimes in the absence of having culturally appropriate and holistic approaches in addressing FASD, we can see the delivery of practices that don’t feel safe for Indigenous moms,” she said.

“We had some moms sharing their experiences of feeling alienated and experiencing systems that weren’t accommodating to them.”

Recognizing the stigma that surrounds the disability “requires recognizing that the disability is often quite racialized,” Stewart said.

There’s a lot of poor delivery of practices for Indigenous women who seek care, she stressed, and a need for a better effort to understand mothers’ circumstances when they drink while pregnant.

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Volunteers Needed For Intervention Study! #FASD #Edmonton


Volunteers Needed For Intervention Study!

We are doing a research study on a self-regulation intervention for adolescents with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

We are looking for participants age 11 – 17 who have a diagnosis of FASD.

The intervention will take place over 12 weeks and will include weekly 1-hour one-to-one intervention sessions focusing on improving self-regulation.

Please read the information sheet below for more details!


Federal government announces $65 million to address opioid crisis as B.C., Ottawa sign health deal

British Columbia Health Minister Terry Lake repeatedly said B.C. would not sign a separate deal with Ottawa after talks between the provinces and federal government fell apart in December. However, a provincial government source says the province will sign an agreement with Ottawa.

RICHMOND, B.C.—British Columbia and the federal government have reached a 10-year, $1.4 billion health-funding agreement.

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott says the funding includes $785 million for better home care and more than $650 million for mental-health initiatives.

B.C. has been at the epicentre of the overdose crisis caused by illicit opioids and Philpott also announced $65 million to combat the epidemic nationwide.

“In addition, in recognition of the severe impact this has had on British Columbia, we will be providing this province with the support of $10 million to help in its emergency response.”

The $65 million will support what communities across the country have asked them for: better lab testing, better toxicology, better data and surveillance, she said.

“We are taking an approach that will protect lives and protect the health of communities.”

The province said Friday that 116 people died last month as a result of illicit drug use, in addition to a record 914 people last year.

B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake said the new funding will provide much-needed help.

 “We have in B.C. taken drastic action on the opioid crisis. Funding to date is approaching $100 million. It is a staggering amount of money, but (there is) a more staggering human toll that we’re talking about here.”

Up until now, Lake has repeatedly said the province would not negotiate a separate health-funding deal with the federal government after talks between the provinces, territories and Ottawa broke down in December.

They rejected a federal offer that would have poured an additional $25 billion over the next five years into health care, with money tagged specifically for mental health and home care.

Since then, federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has announced agreements with New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island.

Last month, Lake said he felt betrayed by the federal government’s divide-and-conquer approach over the negotiation of the new health accord after the Atlantic provinces signed agreements.

The current federal health transfers had been increasing by six per cent a year, but they are scheduled to fall to three per cent in April.

B.C., Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta have called for an annual 5.2 per cent increase in federal health spending, saying that number is based on research done by the parliamentary budget office and The Conference Board of Canada.

Health and government officials have scrambled to slow the death toll of B.C.’s opioid crisis, but have been frustrated by the appearance of even stronger opioids into the province.

The provincial government has responded to the crisis by increasing access to the overdose-reversing drug naloxone and creating overdose prevention centres, where people can use drugs under the supervision of people who are trained to respond to overdoses.

Lake has said the death toll would have been much higher if not for the measures taken by the province and the often heroic efforts of first-responders and others who provided aid.

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VanRaes: Accused in bus driver homicide another victim of failed system


It’s easy to feel contempt for an angry-looking young man in Facebook photographs.

Appearing to grip a handgun in one, in another he seems to be smoking something out of a miniature liquor bottle, flipping the camera the bird as he goes.


Last week Brian Kyle Thomas, 22, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Irvine Jubal Fraser, a 58-year-old transit driver who was fatally stabbed while on shift at the University of Manitoba.


The charges against Thomas have not been proven in court, and in Canada people are presumed innocent until found otherwise.

The crime is surely shocking.

But so is the story of the man who stands accused of it.

As previously reported, Thomas was born on Shamattawa First Nation with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and immediately taken into foster care. Over the next 18 years he would be placed in 73 different foster homes.


That means that as a baby, a toddler, a kid and teenager, Thomas packed up his meagre belongings an average of four times a year and moved to a different house, a different bedroom, a new routine, new rules, new foster parents and possibly a new school.

He then aged out of the system without a high school diploma and became homeless.

Many Indigenous children in government care are failed by the very system that is supposed to not just protect them, but lead them into a successful adulthood.


In 2001, 88 per cent of Indigenous inmates and 63 per cent of non-Indigenous in a Manitoba correctional facility did not live at home during their teens, mainly because they were in foster care, according to a study cited by the office of the Children’s Advocate in 2012.


That same report noted a prevalence of FASD among adult prisoners.

In what appear to be Thomas’ Facebook photos, there are no images of his family, no vacations, no friends, no school portraits.


He posts a picture of a cat he calls “MEW like on pokemon” and writes “miss my cat alote.” No one responds. No one seems to care.


Thomas has seven previous criminal convictions including convictions for assault, uttering threats and possession of a dangerous weapon.


I would not want to live next door to him or encounter him on the street, but I very much doubt that he was born the man who would later accumulate such a lengthy rap sheet.

A long series of failures and injustices — historical and modern — lead to tragedies like these for the families of the victims, for society, and for those who stand accused.

And unless we take a critical look at the road travelled to this point, there will be more heartbreak.

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