Australian Federal Government

Alcohol use in pregnancy is the leading cause of birth defects and mental/ developmental disabilities in the Western world. It is estimated that it affects 1 in 100 infants. These disabilities are known as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD can lead to problems with learning, behaviour, attention, sleeping, memory and understanding the consequences of his/her actions. An estimated 50% of individuals with FASD will end up in institutional care, a mental health facility or prison.

FASD is preventable yet many women are unaware of the risks of alcohol use in pregnancy. It is estimated that nearly 50% of women consume alcohol during pregnancy. This figure could easily be reduced with a very simple step. By placing warning labels on all alcoholic drinks sold in Australia we can target everyone who drinks alcohol. This would bring about discussion, education and change attitudes towards alcohol use in pregnancy.

Certain members of the alcohol industry believe this simple step is too costly to implement. Yet they comply with American labelling laws. In America, all alcoholic containers carry the government warning that “Women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects.” This includes all alcoholic that is exported by Australian manufacturers to America. If the alcohol industry does this for America, why can it not do the same for Australia?

And is it not too costly to implement?

It has been estimated that Australia spends more than $13 million a day on FASD affected individuals through health care, institutional care, mental health and justice services and other areas. Acting now will not only reduce these high costs but improve the lives of children, families and communities.

The Drug Education Network Inc recently held the 1st National Conference on FASD in Launceston. During the conference, Yvonne Tilley (delegate) raised a motion to petition the Federal Government on this matter. The motion was passed. This petition has been created on behalf of the delegates of the conference.

More information is available at http://www.den.org.au

We, the undersigned, request that the Federal Government of Australia legislate that all alcoholic beverages sold in Australia carry warning labels highlighting that drinking alcohol while pregnant may cause birth defects.

The Alcohol use in pregnancy: Labels needed to warn of risks petition to Australian Federal Government was written by The Drug Education Network Inc and is in the category Health at GoPetition.