Group Forms to Battle Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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Group Forms to Battle Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

The National Organization for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS), a new non-profit group intended to counter alcohol abuse by pregnant women, opened its headquarters in Washington, D.C. this month and plans to have its first fund raiser in March.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), caused by maternal drinking during pregnancy, results in mental retardation, low I.Q., organ dysfunction and hyperactivity. In early 1990, the Center For Disease Control (CDC) estimated that more than 8,000 babies are born each year with FAS, and the problem is especially severe among Native American populations.

According to a press release, NOFAS' goals include reducing the rate of alcohol-related birth defects through awareness and education, and through preventive care in Native American communities; funding FAS research on early detection and genetic predisposition and training health professionals to recognize and treat FAS; establishing an annual conference on FAS; and serving as a clearinghouse for information.

NOFAS' board of directors includes three U.S. Senators and one member of the House of Representatives, member of the medical and legal communities, and representatives of various Native American groups. …