FASD affects millions in the UK

22 November 2021

A University of Salford study shows that 1.8% to 3.6% of young people may have fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) after being exposed to alcohol in the womb.

Researchers assessed 220 children at risk of FASD across three primary schools. The eight children they identified as having/possibly having FASD had not been previously diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental condition.

Published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, the study showed that, based on the Salford figures, up to half a million young people under 20 in England and Wales could be affected. And up to 2.4 million people in the UK may have had FASD in 2020.

Sandra Butcher, chief executive of the National Organisation for FASD, said:

‘It is now undeniable that FASD is prevalent and massively undiagnosed... the financial impact can be in the billions.’

The organisation is calling for a UK-wide FASD prevalence study and to make training in FASD mandatory in the health, social care, education and justice sectors.

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