The boss of Fife Alcohol Support Service has expressed concerns over the number of babies born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
Jim Bett, service manager, said alcohol consumption in women of childbearing age was common and recognised as a significant public health issue.
He said it was estimated that approximately 3.2 per cent of babies born were affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which is three to four times the rate of autism.
This means that as many as 172,000 people could be affected by the disorder in Scotland.
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A recent study in Glasgow found that 42 per cent of samples showed evidence of the mother having consumed alcohol during pregnancy, with 15 per cent of those pregnancies exposed to very high levels of alcohol.
Jim continued: “This information and these statistics are very concerning to us all and puts an enormous strain, both physically and financially on the NHS, which has to identify and treat those people at risk of FASD, and also the parents and carers, adoptive and fostering services, supportive organisations like FASS in the voluntary sector, and also policy makers.”
Jim added: “Our FASS counsellors are engaged in these types of problems every single week and we would encourage those who are already pregnant or are trying for a family to consider the effects of alcohol and change their habits.”
If anybody needs help with this, they can call FASS on 01592 206200 for a free and confidential counselling
service which operates throughout Fife.