Murkowski Shares Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Speech With Senate Colleagues

Pauses On Ninth Hour of Ninth Day of September to Honor International FASD Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski introduced and passed a resolution commemorating today, September 9, 2011 as International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day.  

“During my time in the Senate, I have given many speeches recognizing FASD day.  In each of these speeches, I stated that in Alaska we have the highest rate of FASD in the nation,” Murkowski said in a speech submitted for the record.

“Approximately 160 Alaskan babies are born each year affected by maternal alcohol use during pregnancy.  Among our Native communities, the rate of FASD is 15 times higher than non – Native areas in our state.  But this year I am proud to report that our statistics have vastly improved.

“More work can and should certainly be done, but this is a remarkable improvement for a state with historically the highest rate of FASD.  40,000 American children each year are born with FASD.  But education, prevention, treatment, and research of FASD will save countless future healthcare costs relating to this devastating, but entirely preventable disorder.  

“I hope we continue to recognize, to pause in the ninth hour of the ninth day of each September until fetal alcohol syndrome disorders are eradicated.”

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders encompass a range of physical and mental birth defects that occur in a fetus when a pregnant woman consumes alcohol, and are 100% preventable. 

Progress is being made with FASD in Alaska, study and prevention efforts contributing to the:

-     Rate among Alaska Native babies decreasing by 49% from 1996 to 2002.

-     Overall rate dropping by 32% in the same period.

Senator Murkowski’s full speech is attached.