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CDC: 38 Million Americans Drink ‘Too Much’ Alcohol; Alaska Public Health Nurses Take Action

ALASKA - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1 in 6 adults has talked about their alcohol use with a health professional. As Alcohol Awareness Month continues, nurses in Alaska are using screening and brief intervention techniques in an effort to change that statistic.

Alaska, a state with one of the highest rates of excessive alcohol consumption, also has a high rate of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), said Kenneth Lyons Jones, MD, MotherToBaby past president and one of two doctors who first identified Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in 1973. Jones says as many as 1 in 100 are affected by prenatal alcohol exposure today, which can result in a range of neurobehavioral disabilities and behavioral problems, now known as the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). The number of children with FASD is thought to be almost as many as those diagnosed with autism.

“Excessive drinking in general and drinking during pregnancy are deeply concerning behaviors,” said Jones. “We, at MotherToBaby, applaud the Alaskan public health nurses for implementing an alcohol consumption screening that will, hopefully, reduce the number of women who drink during pregnancy as well.”

Part of the screening consists of several standardized screening questions to help identify a patient’s drinking pattern. Simply opening up the lines of communication appear to be making an impact since the program’s implementation in primary care settings in 2012. The CDC reports that screening and brief intervention is effective at reducing alcohol consumption among those who drink excessively. Read the full article here.

The public can be connected with bilingual (English/Spanish) teratogen information specialists at MotherToBaby and receive personalized risk assessments, education and counseling by calling toll-free 1-866-626-6847. MotherToBaby also houses a library of fact sheets on alcohol, medications and other exposures during pregnancy and while breastfeeding here. Fact sheets are available in English and in Spanish.

Fact Sheets

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Drinking alcohol during pregnancy has a direct effect on brain development. See our FACT SHEET.

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