ALCOHOL WATCH #5 by Russell Guy: Thirteen per cent of deaths of young people are attributed to alcohol and thousands of people are still arrested each month for drink driving despite what everyone knows. It's an ugly picture, which is estimated to cost more than $15.3 billion a year.
There is only one cause of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and that is prenatal alcohol exposure, in other words a pregnant mother's drinking. This can cause brain damage in the unborn child. A report released yesterday by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs looks at the "hidden harm" of FASD and sets out a national strategy to deal with it. Most of its recommendations concern the Commonwealth but two involve engaging with the states and territories. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: A diagram from the report shows how, when a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol is passed directly to the fetus through the placenta.
In the wake of the Victorian Auditor-General’s report into that state’s drinking culture and its range of damning observations that point to its $4.3b p.a. and growing alcohol-abuse problem, there have been a number of other reports this past week, echoing concern about Australia’s dependence on alcohol. For example, in Western Australia, evidence given to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, revealed that one in five students at a Kimberley high school (20%) is believed to suffer from Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, where the mother’s alcohol consumption during pregnancy causes brain damage and other birth defects, similar to autism. Teachers are having to deal with this in the classroom. COMMENT by RUSSELL GUY. Photo: A traffic jam at the "Thirsty Camel" last Sunday afternoon in Alice Springs.