WHEREAS, providing healthy environments for infants and children to develop and grow is essential in ensuring the well-being and productivity of future generations of Alaskans; and
WHEREAS, consuming alcohol at any stage of pregnancy can cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), which refers to conditions caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol, and can lead to lifelong complications such as physical, behavioral, and learning disabilities; and
WHEREAS, FASD is a leading cause of preventable and permanent birth defects and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Alaska has the highest known incidence of FASD in our nation, with more than 150 Alaskans diagnosed every year, and the number of actual cases estimated to be even greater; and
WHEREAS, children with FASD are often undiagnosed until a child has reached school age. While there is no cure, early intervention, diagnosis, and treatment have been shown to significantly help children with FASD learn to cope with disabilities; and
WHEREAS, in addition to the personal and emotional difficulties, the lifetime health and social costs in medical care, special education, specialized services, and lost productivity are estimated to cost millions for each individual with FASD; and
WHEREAS, each year, on the ninth day of the ninth month, we are reminded of the importance of abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy, and to support healthy prenatal choices in our communities.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Michael J. Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim September 9, 2019 as:
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to abstain from alcohol consumption throughout the course of pregnancy, and to support pregnant family members, friends, and neighbors in their commitment to protect the next generation.