The Loop - e-news

National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Australia.
[ Issue #17, January 2015 ]

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Dear Members & Supporters,
This month in “The Loop”

Did you receive this newsletter from a friend?  Be sure to join the NOFASD Community to stay in "The Loop"!

Last month NOFASD Australia asked for your help in the development of a Parent/Carer Advocacy Toolkit.  Thank you to everyone who has provided what they believe should be included in the toolkit.  The survey is still open to responses, so if you are a parent or carer we'd love to hear your thoughts.

This month, the Board and Staff will be meeting in Adelaide to discuss progress through NOFASD's original project plan, ahead of assessment for Government re-funding in June, and the challenges, opportunities, strengths and strategies of NOFASD Australia in ensuring continued success.

Beginning this month is the first in a series of feedback questions this issue, and NOFASD would appreciate your time in providing your responses.  After all, NOFASD Australia exists to represent YOU.  You can find the questions in the Special Interest section of this newsletter.

The NOFASD Australia Facebook page has recently had an influx of new 'Likes' - thank you for your continued support via social media.  If you haven't already, please join NOFASD over on Facebook (we post regularly!), follow us on Twitter, and if you're not a current subscriber to The Loop, please ensure you join the NOFASD Community so that you don't miss any of the action!

Until next time,

Terri Baran
Social Media & Administration Officer

From My Desk...
It is often said that sustained change will happen at the individual or community level. This month we can read about the tragic consequences of fetal alcohol exposure in the Fitzroy Valley in Western Australia where an incidence of one in eight children living with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome has been determined. NOFASD Australia sincerely congratulates the small group of very courageous women in the Fitzroy Valley who began their campaign in 2007 to address the pervasive impact of alcohol in their communities. By 2009, a partnership with researchers and clinicians had formed and after 7 years of commitment, the human story of FASD for the people of the Fitzroy Valley has indisputable evidence of harm. 

From a somewhat different approach, I am pleased to report on two other community initiatives in this newsletter, all of which are service provider driven. A FASD Action Group in the Nowra/Shoalhaven Region of NSW sent me an update this week of their progress. I had visited the Nowra/Shoalhaven region as a guest presenter for Drug Action Week in 2013 and was joined by parent/advocate Amanda Mulligan who spoke to the audiences from a parent perspective. An outcome of these events was the formation of a FASD Action Group and twelve months later I delivered a one day 'training of trainers' program to local service providers. This week’s update informs of the appointment of a social work student engaged to discover what programs are being run in the region and how best to educate on FASD in the local communities of the Nowra/Shoalhaven region. Secondly, local MPs (federal and state) have been informed on FASD and the information is reported to have been favourably received. Securing funding is now on the Action Group's agenda to enable the employment of a worker to reintroduce a pilot secondary school education program offered in 2014 which will be inclusive of FASD education. The spokesperson for the group advised, "So we have started, and I am being told it will happen in baby steps. I am keen to do more but as FASD prevention is on top of other work activities, there are always time restraints. Thanks for inspiring us, I hope we can assist your cause."  The Nowra/Shoalhaven FASD Action Group is already assisting the NOFASD Australia’s cause.

The Newcastle Community Drug Action Team (CDAT) organised a forum on FASD which was held in November last year. Opened by the Hon. Dr Sharman Stone MHR, 50 participants then listened to expert clinical advice from Professor Elizabeth Elliott. NOFASD Australia educator, Adelle Rist also addressed the forum from a health promotion/community development perspective. In a Newcastle CDAT Communique in December 2014, Chairperson Tony Brown proposed this FASD workshop event as an “excellent example” of “how CDATs and other authentic community-based bodies across NSW and the country can lead and galvanise combined grass root community action to address high priority AOD [alcohol and other drugs] related harms by the adoption and promotion of best practice evidence-based measures and partnering with other independent experts and organisations."  The Chairperson remarked on the event as “the beginning of a significant journey and partnership. As the song goes “from small things big things grow…” More information is available on the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website

I recall listening to a plenary presentation by Professor Stirling Clarren at a Canadian conference in late 2013. Dr Clarren made many important statements and three stood out for me. I hope I cite Dr Clarren correctly as I rely on my notes. The first important message I heard was the absence of change in the range of abnormalities within the FASD condition since 1978, and that alcohol harms the brain and most tissues in the body. It reminds me that despite all contrary evidence and opinion, the evidence of risk is unshakeable. The second was a powerful message on the role of research which is the evidence behind the human story, and the third is to continually evaluate what is being done and what is not working. Finally, I can recall a conversation I had with Audrey Salahub from the Asante Centre in Vancouver back in 2010. In telling me the story of FASD progress in British Columbia, she remarked “I think it takes 7 to 10 years in a community to get established” (personal notes).  

Vicki Russell
Of Special Interest

This month, NOFASD Australia begins a series of questions to allow us to understand how our services and support has helped, currently helps or could help you in the future.

Our questions this month are :

  1. Do you think people are more aware of the risks of alcohol use in pregnancy? If so, what has made the difference? If not, what other strategies are needed?

  2. What is your experience in talking to a new service provider or making a referral for an individual living with recognised or diagnosed FASD?
Please email your responses to Terri, and thank you in advance for your input.  It is your support of NOFASD Australia that ensures we're here to support you in return.
National News and Media
Fetal alcohol syndrome findings to protect future generations
One in eight children born in 2002 or 2003 and living in remote Fitzroy Valley communities in Western Australia have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a landmark study has found.  The Liliwan study, published today in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, was initiated by Aboriginal community leaders who, in 2009, invited researchers and clinicians to partner with them to provide data they could use to advocate for people living with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Read more... 

Foetal alcohol syndrome: One in eight children has permanent damage in Fitzroy Crossing caused by mother’s drinking
One in eight children in remote Fitzroy Crossing has permanent intellectual and physical damage-  including facial deformities and memory loss – caused by their mother’s drinking while pregnant.  It is the highest rate of foetal alcohol syndrome ever recorded in Australia, and it is likely to be similar in other remote communities, researchers say.  “These women did not know they were harming their babies by drinking when they were pregnant. We must commend, rather than punish, this community for leading the way and shining a spotlight on a problem that exists across all Australia,” Professor Jane Latimer said.  Read more... 

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder cases in WA doubles
The number of recorded cases of FASD in Western Australia has doubled in the past 30 years, demonstrating improved awareness and diagnosis of the disorder within the community.  A study used the Western Australian Register of Developmental Anomalies to record the number of FASDs in WA from 1980-2010, revealing 210 cases of reported FASDs within the assessed period.  Senior author and Winthrop Research Professor Doctor Carol Bower says there has been limited data on FASD birth prevalence in Australia due to lack of knowledge of the condition.  Read more…

Nation’s highest rate of fetal alcohol syndrome documented in WA’s Fitzroy Valley
One-in-eight children born in a group of remote communities in Western Australia’s Kimberley region has fetal alcohol syndrome, a new study shows.  The Lililwan Study was initiated by Aboriginal leaders who invited researchers and clinicians into the Fitzroy Valley community.  Read more...

Foetal alcohol syndrome: Fitzroy Valley leader June Oscar hopes study brings long-term change
The Fitzroy Valley community leader who pushed for alcohol restrictions in the area says the discovery that one-in-eight children has FASD is devastating, but provides the hard evidence needed to demand change.  “Now we need to look at getting the conversation happening with those of influence, so that we can secure the resources that are required to address this.”  Read more... 

Consigning fetal alcohol scourge to history
Despite searing heat, 15-year-old Tristan McCarthy is relaxed as he poses in front of a boab tree in his home town of Fitzroy Crossing. He laughs when an onlooker tells him how handsome he looks. “Just go and behave!” he replies.  In childhood, Tristan was diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.  With brother Sebastian and sister Rani, he is among a generation whose physical and behavioural deficits – including abnormal facial features and intellectual disability – alerted their community to a sinister wave sweeping the Kimberley.  Read more... 

Australian Governments fizzle out on alcohol policies
For the second year running the Australian Federal Government has received the Fizzers award from the National Alliance of Action on Alcohol (NAAA).  NAAA represents more than 70 organisations and has produced the 2014 National Alcohol Policy Scorecard report in order to assess the alcohol policy responses across the country.  No Australian government achieved a ‘pass’ grade.  The Australian Federal Government’s performance was particularly poor, scoring the lowest result overall and earning them the 2014 Fizzers award.  Read more… 
Will 2015 be another Fizzer? Read Executive Officer of NAAA Brian Vandenberg’s opinion here. 

2015: Predictions
When reflecting on the past year of Australian alcohol policy, Drink Tank received a mixed bag of responses highlighting the various improvements and shortcomings we’ve concurrently seen throughout 2014.  However when asked what the future holds, the public health experts we spoke to were enthusiastic and hopeful about the many opportunities for improving on Australian policies if governments decide that they are serious about reducing the harms caused by alcohol.  Read more... 

Urgently needed: Voices for integrity in public policymaking
Society needs strong voices to promote public health and the integrity of policy-making processes.  This is especially critical given the dominant paradigm of market-based solutions and the increasing conversion by transnational corporations of their economic power into political power.  Read more... 

Raising awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
The 2nd Annual National Acquired Brain Injury conference in Sydney featured an interactive panel discussion on the developments and implications for Australia of FASD.  The discussion featured Vicki Russell, CEO, National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Prof Heather Douglas from TC Beirne School of Law at the University of Queensland and Prof Jane Lattimer from the Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney and was facilitated by Nick Rushworth, Executive Officer, Brain Injury Australia. Nick shares his thoughts.  Read more...
Extended Fetal Alcohol Support Project
The Extended Fetal Alcohol Support Project (EFSP) is multi-faceted and is designed to support adults living with (or suspected of living with) FASD who are at risk of or already involved in the criminal justice system.  They support the process of an FASD assessment and provide resources through ongoing community support teams to ensure a quality of life and success in reaching goals set out by the client.  Read more...

David Boulding – Fetal Alcohol Consultant
David Boulding’s website is a treasure trove of very useful, comprehensive information on FASD.  From mistakes he made with FAS clients as a lawyer, to fetal alcohol and rules for sex.  It is a fantastic introduction to FASD.  Read more… 

Dianne O’Connor on Raising Adults with FASD
Dianne O’Connor shares her experiences with raising children and now adults with FASD.  Watch the video...

Webcasts develop caregiver skills on mental health, brain injury, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and disabilities
Families and caregivers will have access to information, the latest research and other resources via webcasts on mental health, brain injury, FASD and disabilities.  The Alberta government is continuing to provide free, helpful information and strategies for family members, caregivers and professionals to support youth with mental health issues, and individuals with FASD, brain injury or other disabilities.  These webcast series are an investment in the wellbeing of Albertans and those who support them.  Read more... 

Can’t, Not Won’t
A Christian response to FASD.  Approx. 1 hour.  Watch the video here. 

Living with FASD:  Routine videos
Excellent routine-setting videos providing guidance for those living with FASD, with morning, day, evening and night routines:
Introduction & morning routine 
Day routine 
Evening routine 
Night routine 

Mothers’ Mental Health Toolkit: A Resource for the Community
The Mothers’ Mental Health Toolkit was born out of a novel partnership between the IWK Reproductive Mental Health Service and Family Resource Centres.  Mothers’ Mental Health matters to the development of strong children and healthy communities.  Coleen Flynn MSW and Joanne MacDonald MD developed a workbook style resource and additional learning tools to increase community service provider maternal mental health knowledge and confidence.  Read more...  
International News and Media
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): A Canadian Study for Parents of Children age 4-12
Centre for Research in Family Health (Canada) is recruiting families into their Strongest Families FASD study. They are looking for families living in Canada with children age 4-12 with an FASD diagnosis to participate in the study. 

Better-off women more likely to drink alcohol in pregnancy (Ireland)
Women with higher levels of income and education are more likely to drink alcohol weekly during their pregnancy, new figures have shown.  The findings are from a new report, Maternal Health Behaviours and Child Growth in Infancy, published as part of the Growing Up in Ireland study.  Women with higher levels of education and income being more likely to drink alcohol in pregnancy was a “common finding internationally”, said Prof Richard Layte of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and co-author of the report. “As to why, we don’t have exact data on this. Clearly these women feel that it’s an acceptable risk. The guidelines in Ireland are women should not drink in pregnancy.” Read more...
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Tennessee’s Totally Preventable Problem (USA)
It is completely preventable, but there will be some 40-thousand babies born in the U.S. this year, including hundreds in Tennessee, diagnosed with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  Dr. Frederick Palmer, professor of paediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, says the severity of the health issues related to maternal alcohol use depends on the timing and frequency of consumption, which he says should not be a single drop.  Read more…

Profile: Struggling with an ‘uncertain’ future (Canada)
Turning 19 brings a sudden and shocking abandonment for youth in government care.  Matt Brown only ever had one long-term relationship with a reliable adult – his government-funded transition worker, a caring guy who helped him sort through life’s problems.  Born to a mother with a substance abuse problem, he has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder.  He has also been diagnosed with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder.  But when Brown turned 19 last November, that relationship formally ended. It is B.C. government policy that all child welfare services stop upon the recipient’s 19th birthday, regardless of the young person’s readiness to live independently. 

Pregnant women should not drink AT ALL because ‘no amount of alcohol is safe’, says MP who wants warning labels on products (UK)
Women should not drink any alcohol while they are pregnant because of the risks to their unborn child, an MP said today.  Bill Esterson wants it to be made compulsory for all alcoholic beverages to carry compulsory warning labels directed at expectant mothers.  The Labour MP for Sefton Central on Merseyside presented his Alcohol Labeling (Pregnancy) Bill during this morning’s session of Parliament, after PMQs.  Mr Esterson told MPs that 7,000 children a year were born in the UK damaged by alcohol, equating to one in every 100 births.  Read more… 
Fetal Alcohol Exposure Often Mistaken as Behavioural Issues (USA)
Children referred to a specialist because of behavioural problems may have undiagnosed fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, suggest results of a new study.  Among 547 foster or adopted children referred to a children’s mental health center for behavioural issues, 156 met criteria for FASD, but 125 has never been diagnosed with prenatal exposure to alcohol.  Read more…
Message on Drinking When Pregnant is Clear: Zero for Nine (USA)
It is completely preventable, but based on historic rates, there will be tens of thousands of babies born in the United States this year, including hundreds in Iowa, with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  The severity of the health issues related to maternal alcohol use depends on the timing and frequency of consumption, which should not be a single drop, says Stephanie Trusty, a nurse clinician with the Iowa Department of Public Health.  Read more...
High Rates of Missed Diagnoses of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (USA)
Among youth, the rate of missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders is 86.5%, according to a study published online January 12 in Pediatrics.  Ira J. Chasnoff, MD, from the Children’s Research Triangle in Chicago, and colleagues collected data from a sample of 547 children among a population of foster and adopted youth who underwent a comprehensive multidisciplinary diagnostic evaluation.  Children were diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, partial fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder, or alcohol-related birth defects using current diagnostic criteria.  The researchers found that 125 of the 156 children and adolescents who met criteria for a diagnosis within the fetal alcohol spectrum had never been diagnosed as affected by prenatal alcohol exposure.  Read more...

When ADHD Isn’t What It Seems (USA)
The number of kids who are diagnosed with ADHD these days is huge – and growing.  Reported cases of the disorder have increased by 42 percent since 2003.  But a new study suggests that some of these children might actually be suffering from a different condition that often goes undetected.  Most of the referrals that paediatrician Ira Chasnoff gets at his clinic at the Children’s Research Triangle in Chicago are for behavioural issues.  He and his team analysed a sample of 156 foster children who has been referred to his clinic and found that 81 percent of them had fetal alcohol spectrum disorders that had not previously been detected by a physician.  The most common reason they had been referred to Chasnoff was ADHD.  Read more... 

School district implements training, curriculum for FASD (USA)
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is continuing to expand and evolve outreach for students diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.  Training and support programs have reached 400 educators, students and families since the school district identified the education concerning the disability as a priority three years ago, said Director of Pupil Services Clayton Holland.  Read more… 

Group encourages mothers to take “PACT” to prevent birth defects (USA)
Health advocates are reminding pregnant women, and those who might become pregnant that there are some things they can do to help prevent birth defects.  In conjunction with National Birth Defects Prevention Month, the Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network is encouraging all pregnant women to make what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls a “PACT” – Plan ahead, Avoid harmful substances, Choose a healthy lifestyle, and Talk to your doctor.  Read more... 

The importance of getting an FASD diagnosis (USA)
Ric Ianolino has worked with at-risk children and their families since 1968 in the Lower 48 and in Alaska.  He served in roles as treatment director for the Bethel Group Home and regional trainer for the Yukon-Kuskokwin Health Corporation until a ride-along with Juneau Police DepartmentSt. Ben Cornell changed his life.  Ianolino’s experience led to a professional understanding that, ultimately, urged him to the opening of the first Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder multidisciplinary diagnostic clinic in Juneau.  Read more...

Yukon Set For Full Time FASD Diagnostics (Canada)
The Yukon is going to train a team of doctors and psychologists to diagnose adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  Yukon already has FASD diagnostic teams for children and youth, but experts from southern Canada visit to diagnose adults.  Mike McCann, the executive director of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society, says a diagnosis can be particularly helpful when people are involved in the courts and their condition is not known.  Read more...

Raising awareness about FASD (USA)
Dr. Susan D. Rich has given Grand Rounds ... about the topic of Neurodevelopmental Disorder associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (ND-PAE), the diagnostic term in DSM-5 for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  In an article in Psychiatric News in 2005, Dr. Rich said: “I was furious when I first heard the term ‘funny-looking kid,’ or FLK, almost 12 years ago.  A rural paediatrician was describing how doctors overlook the possibility of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), the physical and neuropsychiatric effects of prenatal alcohol exposure.  He said, ‘They look at the parents and say – ‘They’re pretty funny looking I guess it’s genetic.’ My passion for prevention of alcohol-related birth defects has been fuelled by such attitudes.”  Read more...

The Myth of FAS (Canada)
“It is a myth that FAS is the most severe/worst form of FASD. The most that can be said is that some with FAS may be the most neurologically affected [27%].  These are the facts:
1 – only 10-15% of those diagnosed with FASD will have the facial features [FAS]
2 – only approximately 27% of individuals with the facial features [FAS] will have an I.Q. below 70.
3 – of the remaining 73% of those with the facial features [FAS], the range of I.Q. will vary from the low to high average.  Read more... 

When One Door Closes, Another One Opens – FASD Success Stories Series [1st Story] (Canada)
“My story started about the year 2005, when my adopted son (biological grandson) asked for a sibling.  I could not get my daughter to have another child so I searched the website and DHS servies for adoptable children. After one failed adoption we got lucky, thanks to I located a pair of boys and started the process of wait and see, months of inquiries for adoption.  WE knew the littlest son was FAS, but not his older brother, so I researched everything I could get my hands on and prayed, prayed and prayed. We got our sons August 2005 and finalized on February 14th 2006. Little did I know the fight was on and still going to prove these little men are special even with their disabilities.” Read more...
Latest Research
Misdiagnosis and Missed Diagnoses in Foster and Adopted Children With Prenatal Alcohol Exposure
I.J. Chasnoff, A.M. Wells and L. King, Pediatrics, 12 January 2015, doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-2171
The purpose of the study was to assess the rate of misdiagnosis and missed diagnoses of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) among a population of foster and adopted youth referred to in a children’s mental health center.  Data were collected from a sample of 547 children who underwent a comprehensive multidisciplinary diagnostic evaluation.  Utilizing current diagnostic criteria, children were diagnosed, as appropriate, with fetal alcohol syndrome, partial fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder, or alcohol-related birth defects.  Among 156 children and adolescents who met criteria for a diagnosis within the fetal alcohol spectrum, 125 had never been diagnosed as affected by prenatal alcohol exposure, a missed diagnosis rate of 80.1%. Of the 31 who had been recognized before referral as being affected, 10 children’s FASD diagnoses were changed within the spectrum, representing a misdiagnosis rate of 6.4%.  Read more...

 A Bio-Social and Ethical Framework for Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
C. Meurk, J. Lucke and W. Hall, Neuroethics, 1 December 2014, doi: 10.1007/s12152-014-9207-2
The diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) is embedded in a matrix of biological, social and ethical processes, making it an important topic for cross-disciplinary social and ethical research. This article reviews different branches of research relevant to understanding how FASD is identified and defined and outlines a framework for future social and ethical research in this area. Important research priorities are to: 1) enumerate the variety of stakeholders involved in seeking FASD diagnoses; 2) understand the experiences and perspectives of mothers from different backgrounds who have consumed alcohol during pregnancy and their affected children; and 3) collect health histories of maternal alcohol consumption in families to determine the effect of FASD at sub-cultural and cultural levels.  Read more… 

The cost of lost productivity due to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder-related premature mortality
B. Easton, A. Sarnocinska-Hart, J. Rehm and S. Popova, Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology, 2 January 2015, ePub only at time of publishing
Individuals with FASD have increase mortality as compared to the general population.  The objective of this study was to estimate the productivity losses due to premature mortality of individuals with FASD in Canada in 2011.  It was estimated that in total 327 individuals with FASD aged 20 to 69 died in Canada in 201.  As a result, 2,877 years of potential employment were lost, translating into a loss ranging from $88 million to $126 million.  These estimates reinforce the value of FASD prevention as a primary strategy.  Read more... 

Prevalence of fetal alcohol syndrome in a population-based sample of children living in remote Australia: The Lililwan Project
J.P. Fitzpatrick, J. Latimer, M. Carter, J. Oscar, M.L.Ferreira, H. Carmichael Olson, B.R. Lucas, R. Doney, C. Salter. J. Try, G. Hawkes, E. Fitzpatrick, M. Hand, R.E. Watkins, A.LC. Martiniuk, C. Bower, J. Boulton and E.J. Elliott, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Heath, 15 January 2015, doi: 10.1111/jpc.12814
Aboriginal leaders concerned about high rates of alcohol use in pregnancy invited researchers to determine the prevalence of FAS and pFAS in their communities.  Results from a population-based prevalence study using children born in 2002/2003 and living the Fitzroy Valley (WA) showed that alcohol was used in 55% of 127 pregnancies. FAS or pFAS was diagnosed in 13/108 children, a prevalence of 120 per 1000.  Prenatal alcohol exposure was confirmed for all children with FAS/pFAS, 80% in the first trimester and 50% throughout pregnancy. The population prevalence of FAS/pFAS in remote Aboriginal communities of the Fitzroy Valley is the highest reported in Australia and similar to that reported in high-risk populations internationally.  Prevention of FAS/pFAS is an urgent public health challenge.

Anticipatory Guidance for Children and Adolescents with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): Practice Points for Primary Health Care Providers
A. Hanlon-Dearman, C.R. Green, G. Andrew, N. LeBlanc and J.L. Cook, Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology, 18 January 2015, ePub only at time of publishing
The primary objective of this study is to give primary health care providers (PHCP) evidence-based recommendations for supporting and managing the symptoms of FASD after patients have received a diagnosis.  Primary health recommendations for the management of children and adolescents with FASD were developed based on expert clinical judgment and supported by evidence-based research, where appropriate.  In most cases, the initial screening and referral for diagnosis will be made by the PHCP, and they will be responsible for ongoing management.  It is anticipated that these recommendations will provide the PHCP with evidence to support the longitudinal health care of children and adolescents with FASD and their families as they transition throughout all developmental stages.

Alcohol Harm Reduction: Corporate Capture of a Key Concept
J. Cambridge, K. Kypri, C. Drummond and J. Strang, PLoS Medicine, 9 December 2014, doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001767
Summary points: 
National alcohol policies that exclude evidence-based whole-population measures because of lobbying by the alcohol industry are likely to increase rather than reduce alcohol harms.  Corporate capture of the idea of “harm reduction” has been used by the industry to counter effect evidence-based alcohol policy development. The concept of alcohol harm reduction needs to be redefined to include the full range of evidence-based measures that reduce alcohol harms to public health and society.  The ability of the alcohol industry to shape alcohol policy nationally and globally needs to be curtailed because of a fundamental conflict of interest with reducing alcohol harms. The WHO Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol offers an evidence-based public health approach that can be used by national governments.  Read more... 
Upcoming Events
Remember to visit our events page on our website for a full listing of upcoming events. 

A Method to Improve Outcomes in Treatment by Recognising Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders – Free iTraining/Webinar
DATE: 19th February 2015
DETAILS: 2.00pm to 3.30pm EST (5.00am to 6.30am 20th February AEST)
Dan Dubovsky, M.S.W., FASD Specialist, will discuss a model for screening adults in treatment for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and modifying treatment approaches. The screening tool is called the Life History Screen (LHS), and the modifications are based on an understanding of brain functioning in individuals who may have been exposed prenatally to alcohol, most of whom go unidentified and often fail in typical treatment settings. Use of the LHS and modifications can help substance abuse treatment providers improve outcomes. The training will conclude with a Q&A session.

The Hidden Harm: Alcohol’s impact on children and families – Sydney, NSW
DATE: 24th February 2015
DETAILS: 10.30am – 12.00pm, NSW Parliament House, Theatrette.  The Hidden Harm examines in greater detail, the impact of alcohol’s harms from others on women, children and families.  These harms are often hidden, occurring in the homes of Australians.  This research includes data from two national surveys of alcohol’s harm to others, service system data from policy and child protection services and information gained from qualitative interviews with families affected by others’ drinking.  RSVP by Friday February 20 to [email protected] or call (2) 6122 8600.

NSW Alcohol Policy Election Forum – Sydney, NSW
DATE: 5th March 2015
DETAILS: 6.00pm to 8.00pm, Salvation Army’s Sydney Congress Hall FunctionCentre, 140 Elizabeth Street, Sydney.
Ahead of the NSW State Election on Saturday 28th March, the NSW ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance Election Forum will provide an opportunity for the community to raise important questions about alcohol policy, and find out what your local political representatives intend to do if elected, to prevent alcohol harms in NSW.  More information will be released shortly.  Click here for the full invitation, and register your attendance at EventBrite. 

“Facing the Realities of FASD” – Oxford and Liverpool, UK
DATE: 27th February and 6th March 2015 respectively
DETAILS: £135 per delegate.  Refreshments, full lunch, and course materials included. 
Oxford – 9.30am to 5.00pm, Oxford Spires Hotel, Abingdon Road.  Keynote speakers to include Dr. Inyang Takon, Brin Roberts, and Julia Brown.  Click here for the flyer.  
Liverpool – 9.30am to 5.00pm, Jury’s Inn Liverpool, 31 Keel Wharf.  Keynote speakers to include Dr. Kieran O’Malley, Luciana Berger, Brian Roberts and Julia Brown.  Click here for the flyer.
All healthcare, social and education professionals working with children are encouraged to attend these events.  To register, email [email protected]

One Year On: The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 – Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand
DATE: 11th, 24th and 26th March 2015 respectively
DETAILS: 9.30am to 4.15pm for all forums.  
Auckland – Quality Hotel Parnell, 10-20 Gladstone Road, Parnell.
Christchurch – The Atrium, 455 Hagley Avenue
Wellington – Te Papa, 55 Cable Street
Tea/coffee will be available from 9am. All venues have parking onsite available. 
These regional forums will discuss: what is working well with the Act; key challenges; recommendations for the next phase of implementation.  The keynote speaker will be Judith Moorhead from the Alcohol Regulatory Licensing Authority.  We will also hear from local licensing and enforcement, health, and District Licensing Committee representatives.  The outcomes from the three forums will be collated and presented to senior managers of the agencies responsible for administering the Act.  There is no registration cost but an email to Lorraine at [email protected] if you can no longer attend would be appreciated.  For registration, please click here, or for further information about the forums please contact Amy at [email protected].

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder prevention in Aboriginal communities – Mt Lawley, Western Australia
DATE: 11th March 2015
DETAILS: This free training is aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm in Aboriginal women of child-bearing age, including pregnancy with a focus on FASD prevention.  The training covers alcohol and pregnancy, information about FASD, the context for Aboriginal women, prevention strategies, screening for alcohol use and brief intervention, and resources to address alcohol and pregnancy.
Target audience is any health, welfare or justice worker who works with Aboriginal women of childbearing age and their community (this training is not suitable for community members).  For more information and registration, click here. 

Australian Drug & Alcohol Strategy Conference (ADASC) 2015 – Brisbane, Queensland
DATE: 17-20th March 2015
DETAILS: The ADASC 2015 provides an invaluable opportunity to share experiences between policing jurisdictions, health service providers, policy analysts, academics and industry representatives.  ADASC 2015 facilitates strong partnerships and enables us to work in collaboration to minimise the detrimental effects of alcohol and other drugs. 
The theme, Building Collaborative Partnership – responding within and across borders represents the physical jurisdictional borders that law enforcement agencies face.  Borders can act as constraints preventing progress and effective partnerships between law enforcement, health, academia and other service providers.  With a committed approach from all agencies across Australiasia, we can overcome these physical and metaphorical borders.  For more information and registration, click here. 

Australian Winter School Conference – Brisbane, Queensland
DATE: 22-24th July 2015
DETAILS: Unleash Potential is the exciting theme of the 2015 conference.  With a focus on new ideas, change and advancement we hope to unlock inspiration and the best way of doing things.  Through presenting the latest in alcohol and other drugs treatment, practices, research and information, we strive to unleash the potential within.

SAVE THE DATE - FASD: A Lifetime of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Information, Prevention, Intervention and Care – Cape Town, South Africa
DATE: 9th September 2015
DETAILS:  8.00am – 5.00pm.  Cape Town, South Africa.  More information to follow.
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