FASD in Alberta
The statistics are startling
Among Alberta women 18 to 44 years of age, 80% reported drinking within the past 12 months. Given that 40% 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, 40% 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 9% of Alberta women reported drinking during their last pregnancy. Some may be surprised the percentage is markedly higher (41%) for women in the highest income group.
The personal, social and economic impacts of FASD are profoundWhile there are no statistics on the prevalence of FASD in Canada or Alberta, research estimates that 9 in every 1,000 babies are born with FASD. In Alberta, this means that there are more than 46,000 Albertans with FASD, and an estimated 500 babies are born with the disorder every year.
It is estimated that the annual total cost of FASD in Alberta is about $927.5 million, which includes the cost of health, social, educational, and correctional services, as well as productivity losses and other costs.
For each prevented case of FASD, Albertans save about $800,000, which is the extra cost of FASD when compared to how much it costs to support the average Albertan during their lifetime.
Even more important are the personal impacts on individuals, families and caregivers and loss of potential. This is why the Alberta government is committed to reducing the incidence of FASD and ensuring individuals living with FASD and their caregivers get the critical support they need.
Taking action on FASDAlberta’s FASD 10-Year Strategic Plan 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 help build awareness, promote prevention, increase access to FASD assessment and diagnosis clinics, conduct new research, and provide support for individuals living with FASD and their caregivers.
The Plan has received annual funding of $16.5 million since 2008/09, supporting 12 FASD Service Networks and ministry-specific FASD initiatives. Preventing FASD in 10 newborns a year pays for the total current annual amount spent by the networks in providing prevention, diagnosis and support services.