Alarming Ontario drinking statistics obligates reappraisal of the impact of alcohol on newborns

Alarming Ontario drinking statistics

The report by Myran et al (2019)1 in CMAJ represents among the most comprehensive account of alcohol abuse in Ontario. It relies on emergency department visits caused by the alcohol use. The results show that from 2003 to 2016, emergency department visits due to alcohol consumption have increased 4.4 times more as compared to an overall increase in visits to emergency. It also identifies a number of demographic features…. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a serious neurodevelopmental disorder. It is caused exclusively by prenatal alcohol exposure invariably resulting from maternal drinking. There is no known safe dose of alcohol or safe timing of alcohol exposure during pregnancy2. Most of the defects we see in FASD represent the tip of the iceberg. Diagnosis of FASD is subjective. There is no biological diagnostic test and there is no cure. Given the alarming increase in alcohol consumption (175%) by young women (15 to 24 years) of reproductive age and apparently high incidence of FASD in Ontario (~3%)3, the issue demands a concerted action. (Read more…)