The NC Fetal Alcohol Prevention Program (FASDinNC)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)

FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was exposed to alcohol during pregnancy.  FASD is a complicated diagnosis that affects brain function, resulting in physical and intellectual disabilities that impact learning and behavior and has lifelong implications.  While FASDs describe a range of effects, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a specific birth defect within the FASD diagnosis that involves distinct facial features.  Studies show that for every one (1) individual with FAS, there are ten (10) individuals on the spectrum that are equally and/or more severely impacted but do not have the facial features.  Think brain, not face.

Basic Facts

• During pregnancy there is no amount or type of alcohol consumption proven to be safe.
• Alcohol use during pregnancy is the leading known (and the only 100% preventable) cause of intellectual disabilities.
• School-based studies in North Carolina show that up to 1 in 20 school-age children may have an FASD.

Alcohol is the most widely used substance among non-pregnant and pregnant women. Alcohol use during pregnancy causes more long-term neurobehavioral damage than any other substance.
Source: NSDUH: Summary of National Findings 2015/IOM 1996

Alcohol Use Among Non-Pregnant and Pregnant Women in the United States

• Approximately 3.3 million US women aged 15–44 years who were not pregnant and not sterile were at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy during 2011–2013.
• Among pregnant women, 1 in 9* reported alcohol use in the past 30 days, and one third of pregnant women reported binge drinking.*
• Among pregnant women, the highest estimates of reported alcohol use were among those who were:
 35 - 44 years old
 A college graduate
 Not married
Source: *Update: MMWR Weekly / April 26, 2019 / 68(16); 365–368 CDC.gov September 25, 2015 / 64(37); 1042-1046

Alcohol Use Among Pregnant Women (15 - 44 years) in North Carolina
• 53.1% drank alcohol three months prior to pregnancy.
• 9.5% drank alcohol during the last three months of pregnancy.
• 16.9% of the women who reported drinking prior to pregnancy continued drinking during pregnancy.
Source: NC PRAMS Data, 2017

Resources:

https://www.proofalliance.org/
http://www.fascets.org/
http://www.oregonbehavior.com/
https://www.nofas.org/socialworkstories/
https://nccd.cdc.gov/FASD/
https://www.arcnc.org/
http://www.fasdinnc.org/
https://www.ncfasdinformed.org/

The Arc of North Carolina and the NC Fetal Alcohol Prevention Program (FASDinNC) Announce Partnership

The North Carolina Fetal Alcohol Prevention Program (FASDinNC) is a statewide program funded by the SAMHSA Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Block Grant (SAPTBG) and has been housed at Fullerton Genetics in Asheville, NC since 2002. FASDinNC strives to prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies by providing education, training and resources to women of childbearing age and the professionals who serve them. In addition to prevention efforts, FASDinNC also educates professionals about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs), how this diagnosis may present across the lifespan, and the importance of early identification and support(s) for individuals with an FASD.

During the current contract year (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020) co-leadership of FASDinNC will be shared between Amy Hendricks (FASDinNC) and Melinda Plue (The Arc of NC). As the year progresses, FASDinNC will transition to and fall under the direction of The Arc of NC by July 1, 2020.  Together, the partnership will focus on expanding outreach and prevention efforts, with a long-term goal of expanding the capacity of the program to include advocacy and intervention in future years. 

The top three initiatives for 2019-2020 are as follows: 

  • Increase Awareness about FASDs and the Impact of Alcohol-Exposed Pregnancies

The Arc of NC’s 2020 Rooted in Advocacypre-conference event will focus entirely on FASDs, and additional sessions on FASDs will be offered during the main conference.  This conference will include presentations by state and national FASD experts and will be held on March 12-13, 2020 at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, NC.  Conference info can be found at www.rootedinadvocacy.org.  Registration for this event opens December 1, 2019.  

  • Expand Statewide Outreach and Prevention Efforts 

The partnership will host a certified FASD Training of Trainers (ToT) program through Proof Alliance, a nationally recognized organization based in Minnesota.  Participants from local chapters of The Arc in NC, staff from our regional offices, and selected participants from other agencies throughout the state, will be selected to go through the ToT.  Once participants are trained, they will be charged with the responsibility of providing FASD trainings in their community/catchment area.  The ToT will occur April 1-3, 2020 in Raleigh at The Arc of NC’s state headquarters.  Space is limited, so if you are interested in becoming a certified trainer, please reach out to Amy Hendricks at FASD@arcnc.org for more information about the selection process.

  • Create a Targeted Social Media Campaign

FASDinNC and The Arc of NC will host three focus groups among women of reproductive age (18-44 years) in designated regions across the state. The goal is to use the data to create ads for a social media campaign addressing the prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies and FASD. If you have questions about hosting a focus group or participating in one of the groups, email Melinda Plue at mplue@arcnc.org.

ABOUT THE ARC OF NORTH CAROLINA: The Arc of North Carolina has been providing advocacy and support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1953. We are committed to securing for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to choose and realize their goals of where and how they learn, live, work, and play.

For more information on The Arc of North Carolina, go to www.arcnc.org. 

If you have additional questions or wish to be involved in these efforts, please reach out and let us know.