Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a huge public health concern, with recent studies estimating a prevalence of 2-5% of the population in the USA. No population-wide prevalence studies have been conducted in Australia, but recent research found the highest worldwide prevalence in Banksia Hill Detention Centre, where 36% of youth was diagnosed with FASD.


"Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the term used to describe the lifelong physical and/or neurodevelopmental impairments that can result from fetal alcohol exposure. FASD is a condition that is an outcome of parents either not being aware of the dangers of alcohol use when pregnant or planning a pregnancy, or not being supported to stay healthy and strong during pregnancy."


The Commonwealth Government’s FASD Strategic Action Plan is therefore an important and welcome document, alongside the commitment of $7.2 million to address this disability in Australia. The Action Plan was launched in November by the Department of Health. Department of Health Assistant Secretary David Laffan described FASD as a key project of the Ministers and outlined three key aims of the Strategic Action Plan:

  •         Reduce the prevalence of FASD
  •         Reduce the associated impact of FASD
  •         Improve the quality of life for people living with FASD

The strategic action plan seeks to deliver on these aims by taking action across four national priorities:

  • Prevention
  • Screening and diagnosis
  • Support and management
  • Priority groups and populations at increased risk

For more information, please read on:

Subscribe to our e-news updates - all the info you need in one place, delivered to your Inbox once a week.