Protecting children proactively and men too
An exploration of the experiences and perspectives of New Zealanders with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
Salmon JV, & Buetow SA. (2012, February). Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology, 19(1):e41-50. Epub 2012 Feb 5.
Link to Abstract and Full Article
In order that progress in this field can take place, health and social agencies, educational and criminal justice systems and policy-makers need to have increased awareness of the disability and the complex problems that individuals with the disability and their families face.
The research article focusses on understanding “the lived experience” of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. This is the largest single cause of feeble mindedness that is from a readily preventable cause (possibly legal-worker’s training is worse? ID9 who stole, felt: “I was more intelligent than the law “cause I never got caught”. page e45 in the paper).
I guess as it was written by hospital based clinicians, it focusses on what can be done now for the victims, rather than focussing on prevention.
Prevention would seem to be a simple and straightforward matter of alerting women of childbearing age of the dangers of drinking alcohol and persuading them to be more careful about contraception, if they wish to drink heavily. Depo provera could be used, if the lady wasn’t able to manage more complex contraception methods.
The societal costs resulting from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome are immense. The article notes that few of the individuals studied were being cared for by their own mothers. This indicates a high degree of irresponsibility, so that society needs to better protect itself from these irresponsible parents (note I am including the fathers as well as the mothers and familycaught$).
Does anyone have a right to burden their children with a life of frustration, hurt, disability and isolation? Especially as many of these mothers bear several children with this disability?
So lets bring this back to personal responsibility.
What can I do to reduce the impact of FAS onto our society. I have cut back on my getting drunk women pregnant, by a small amount….not that I had a big problem in this area. I encourage my boys to give drunk women a very wide berth.
At a social level, we cannot afford to be ongoing in creating children with such severe, disabling and life destroying characteristics. Although there is a lot of confusion over how much alcohol is “safe”, we need to be actively identifying women who repeatedly take these risks and preferably the men too. Data matching between STD lab data, abortions and alcohol offences would identify the more severe high risk individuals. The women could then be managed on depo provera. The men could be managed with drugs that destroy libido. I don’t like this concept, but I believe that it should be discussed on its merits.
At present, the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach is leaving several thousand NZers with frustrating, socially demanding and somewhat destructive lives.
There is also a parallel with NZ suicide reduction policies. The hospital clinicians are only interested in the patients that are visible to them, eg minor drug overdoses that can be pumped out and sent out again. The present ambulance at the bottom of the cliff policy approach is just paying a funeral subsidy for the completers……
This invisibility/visibility isn’t a bad thing. It just means that, if we want progress, for ourselves and our children, we must support it and do it ourselves. This is sensible, as we have better access to men in society at risk of suicide, than do hospital clinicians. These men are visible to us, but invisible to hospital clinicians. As they say, there are none so blind, as will not see….
Lets investigate more proactive health and mental health policies, after investigating them very carefully. MurrayBacon – axe murderer.
Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wells says he has seen an explosion of foetal alcohol cases in his practice. Guess what his main solution is? Yep, raise taxes on alcohol to reduce everyone’s alcohol use. Let’s all have our liberties curtailed as a way of stopping pregnant women from behaving irresponsibly. Apparently, the problem is our ‘culture of drinking’ and “…unfortunately some of the collateral damage from that is unborn babies…” according to the Foetal Alcohol Network coordinator Christine Rogan. (See http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/20120713 for the news items) Nobody has mentioned the possibility of making alcohol use during pregnancy a criminal offence, which always seems to be the first suggestion if a problem is due to male behaviour. It’s considered fine to have legal restrictions on alcohol use when it comes to age or driving, but it seems that avoidable disability in soon-to-be-born babies is much less important, and women shouldn’t expect to be held responsible for their own behaviour now should they?