Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) are the most common form of developmental disabilities in the United States. A recent study found that 2-5% of first graders in a mostly white, mostly middle-class midwestern town would meet criteria for an FASD. However, only 1% of the population is diagnosed.
When using the 4Ps method, Dr. Chasnoff's team have found that 80% of women who report using drugs during pregnancy also admit to alcohol consumption. That means that as we see a rise in children born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), we are likely also seeing a rise in children born with an FASD.
Additionally, Dr. Bell found in Chicago that many of his clients that were using drugs had an FASD which led him to believe that the opioid crisis was a result of a rise in FASDs.
That being said, many women don't know that they are pregnant until after the Central Nervous System of the fetus is developing so damage can be done inadvertently.
FASD is common, unknown, undiagnosed, criminalized, and ignored. We need to spread the word so that families can get support and individuals with the disability can be integrated parts of society.