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Dunne launches Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder action plan

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Associate Health Minister Hon Peter Dunne has launched an action plan today aimed at better supporting those affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and reducing the numbers of babies born with this preventable condition.

"FASD is considered internationally to be a leading preventable cause of intellectual and developmental problems, with some researchers estimating that it occurs in one in 100 children.

"The FASD Action Plan pulls together all of the work already being done at both Government and community level, and takes a strategic and coordinated approach to addressing this very complex issue.

"The Action Plan prioritises prevention and makes it clear that we all have a responsibility to support families and whānau to have healthy, alcohol-free pregnancies. Actions identified in the Plan include increasing access to support and services for women with alcohol and drug issues, conducting research into the incidence of FASD in New Zealand, and developing a coordinated and consistent pathway for supporting affected people and their families", says Mr Dunne.

Specific funding has already been allocated to a number of actions identified in the Plan. $12 million over four years for intensive alcohol and drug support for pregnant women was allocated in the 2016/2017 Budget. An additional $1 million was invested via Criminal Proceeds recovery to develop tools and training for frontline professionals and build New Zealand’s evidence base.

"This is the first national step towards understanding and addressing FASD and its related effects in New Zealand. The Plan will contribute significantly to the government’s work around vulnerable children and their families.

"While this Plan re-enforces the importance of taking a coordinated approach across sectors and communities to reduce alcohol-related harm, there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption at any stage of pregnancy. It is safest not to drink alcohol if you’re pregnant", said Mr Dunne.


Babies exposed to alcohol before birth are at risk of developing this condition, which can cause permanent damage to the body and brain, resulting in heart defects, blindness, behavioural issues and intellectual disability.

There is no cure for FASD. Its effects last a lifetime.

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