Murkowski, Johnson Introduce Bill to Address and Reduce Fetal Alcohol Disorders

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Tim Johnson, D-South Dakota have introduced legislation to strengthen and improve prevention, research, and support services to individuals and families affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

The bill, called The Advancing FASD Research, Prevention, and Services Act, seeks to balance the distribution of federal resources to both prevention activities and to services for individuals and families living with FASD. The legislation would develop and implement targeted state and community-based outreach programs, improve support services for patients and strengthen education outreach efforts to medical professionals who work with FASD patients and women who may be at risk of drinking during pregnancy.

Highlights of the proposed legislation include directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a research agenda that includes the latest and most promising research on FASD and to conduct support activities and provide resources to reduce alcohol-exposed pregnancies. In addition, the legislation would provide federal grants for pilot projects aimed at identifying and implementing best practices for educating children with FASD and working to reduce the overall FASD birth rate by raising awareness of the risks associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

"FASD affects thousands of newborn babies every year, and tragically, this disorder is completely preventable," said Murkowski. "This bill would work to reduce the rate at which babies are born with this disorder and strengthen the support and treatment services provided for people with FASD and their families."

"We must address the tragedy of FASD at the source, by increasing awareness that any amount of alcohol during pregnancy can have heartbreaking, lifelong effects and put an end to this entirely preventable disorder. While there is no known cure, this bill seeks a balance between directing federal resources to prevention activities and to services for individuals living with FASD and their families," said Sen. Johnson.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

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