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Greens call for foetal alcohol syndrome inquiry

Greens call for inquiry into foetal alcohol syndrome

The Greens are calling for a government inquiry into foetal alcohol syndrome, in light of new evidence that any drinking during pregnancy can harm newborn babies.

Green Drug Law Reform Spokesperson, Nandor Tanczos, said the effects of drinking during pregnancy were a largely unacknowledged problem which needed much greater examination.

“Politicians aren’t paying enough attention to this issue. There has been much discussion of the drinking age, the legal status of cannabis, and drink driving, but not nearly enough about the health problems children face when born to mothers who drank during pregnancy.

“Foetal alcohol syndrome is a significant, serious health problem that we must give a great deal more thought.”

The Greens have long advocated that alcohol, like cigarettes, should carry mandatory labelling warning consumers of the effects it can have on their health, he said.

“We warn smokers that they could get lung cancer, or damage their foetuses during pregnancy, but we don’t provide drinkers with the same warnings. This is an egregious double standard which needs addressing.”

Nandor said that an inquiry into foetal alcohol syndrome had been given greater urgency by a Corrections Department study published yesterday, which showed how some young offenders displayed psychopathic tendencies, such as a lack of empathy and remorse.

“Children born with foetal alcohol syndrome can feel its effects for the rest of their lives. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the young offenders in the Corrections Department study were feeling the effects of foetal alcohol syndrome. At present, we simply don’t have enough public awareness of what all the effects of foetal alcohol syndrome are, and a public inquiry could help us get it.”

Nandor said a Health Select Committee report into foetal alcohol syndrome in October last year had recommended mandatory labelling on alcohol, but so far no government response had been forthcoming.

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