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A Few Drinks Can Last A Lifetime


18 September, 2003


The Fetal Alcohol Support Trust supported by the Beer Wine and Spirits Council of New Zealand has launched a pilot programme to educate young people about the risks of drinking while pregnant.

Initially the pilot is to be run at four Hamilton High Schools; Hamilton Fraser High School (where the pilot was recently launched), Fairfield College, Sacred Heart Girls College and Waikato Diocesan School.

Shirley Winikerei, community resource coordinator, and advocate for the Fetal Alcohol Support Trust, says the dangers of drinking while pregnant are clinically well known now, and it can result in disabilities ranging from mild to very serious for the children affected. She says this information needs to get through to every-one in the community and what better way than through educating the adolescents of today, who are the parents and leaders of tomorrow.

She says the major aim of the Fetal Alcohol Support Trust is to raise awareness amongst children and adolescents and their families of the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

With the support of the Beer Wine and Spirits Council and the help of Jill Dempster-Rivett (an experienced special education teacher) Shirley Winikerei says the Trust has produced educational videos and an education pack for schools to use in conjunction with the health syllabus.

Nicki Stewart, chief executive of the Beer Wine and Spirits Council of New Zealand, says the Council’s partnership with the Fetal Alcohol Support Trust goes back many years, and the Council is supportive of this latest initiative.

“As an advocate for the major brewers in New Zealand, the Beer Wine and Spirits Council’s role is to get the message across to the community that they can enjoy drinking, but in moderation and when it is safe to do so. Clearly there are risks in exposing unborn babies to alcohol and we want to help educate young people about the need to keep unborn babies safe from the effects of alcohol.”

Nicki Stewart says the Hamilton Schools that are part of the pilot are a dynamic group of high schools. “We are sure this will be a great health curriculum resource that will prove beneficial to schools throughout New Zealand.”

Nicki Stewart says the Beer Wine and Spirits Council is committed to working in partnership with community groups and Government agencies to educate and inform people about the benefits of drinking in a safe and responsible manner.


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