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On September 9, the 9th day of the 9th month, at 9:09am, on the occasion of the International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Day, the International Blue Cross supports EUFASD (European FASD Alliance) in Too Young To Drink, an international communication campaign conceived by Fabrica, the Benetton group’s communication research center, to raise awareness of the risks of FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders). FASD causes a range of problems through prenatal exposure to alcohol, which can include birth defects, learning disorders, behavioral problems, and mental illness. Studies in the United States have shown that about 1% of children are affected by FASD, studies in Europe show at least 2%, and even higher numbers in some areas, for example in South Africa. However, FASD is 100% preventable – by avoiding alcohol during pregnancy.

Nearly 60 organizations in 30 countries have joined to promote Too Young To Drink: today, at 9:09 in the morning, local time, banners and posters will show an image depicting a real newborn baby in a bottle of an alcoholic drink, as a visual warning of the risks of drinking in pregnancy.

The major aims of the Too Young To Drink campaign are the following:
• To raise awareness of the dangers of drinking during pregnancy among the child-bearing aged population and in the community;
• To spread accurate, research-based information on the risks of using alcohol during pregnancy;
• to empower women to make their own choices, and encourage friends, families and the society to support alcohol-free pregnancies.
This campaign will provide partners with an evaluation of outcomes.

“As the adoptive mother of three children with FASD, I see the daily struggles they face in school and in their social relations. I am working to prevent this ever happening to another child”, says Diane Black, Chair of the European FASD Alliance who has been advised on the campaign of Local Health Authority of Treviso (Veneto Region, Italy) for the social marketing and health communication strategy, based on the experience of the project “Mamma Beve Bimbo Beve”.

“FASD is an international problem and requires an international solution. So far, France is the only European country that provides a warning message on all alcoholic beverages.

The European Commission is perfectly positioned to take action and support Member States in raising awareness about this problem. We hope the new Commissioner for Health will move the issue quickly forward”, says Mariann Skar, Secretary General European Alcohol Policy Alliance.

This project story is related to the project Blue Cross Norway

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