FASD May Affect About 5% of U.S. Children

Although drinking during pregnancy has long been considered taboo, new research suggests that as many as one in 20 U.S. children may have health or behavioral problems related to alcohol exposure before birth.

“Knowing not to drink during pregnancy and not doing so are two different things,” especially before a woman knows she is pregnant, said lead researcher Philip May, a professor of public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He said the high prevalence of children affected by drinking during pregnancy may be due to social pressures or women’s difficulty in changing their drinking habits.

Findings from the study were reported online Oct. 27 and in the November print issue of Pediatrics.  The researchers found that six to nine of every 1,000 children had fetal alcohol syndrome. And, between 11 and 17 per 1,000 children had partial fetal alcohol syndrome, according to the study.

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2 More States Approve Recreational Marijuana Use

Voters in Washington, D.C. and Oregon have approved the legal use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

6 Coalitions Awarded DFC Grant to Address Youth Substance Use

White House Drug Policy Office announced Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants, to communities across the country.  The grants will provide local communities funding to prevent youth substance use and support the Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy, which treats our Nation’s drug problem through a balanced public health and safety approach.

The DFC Program provides grants of up to $625,000 over five years to community coalitions that facilitate youth and adult participation at the community level in local youth drug use prevention efforts.  Coalitions are comprised of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, health care and business professionals, law enforcement, and media.

Six coalitions across the state of North Carolina received this award:

  • Asheville, NC: The Partnership for Substance Free Youth
  • Brevard, NC: Community Awareness and Recovery Effort Coalition
  • Charlotte, NC: Charlotte Mecklenburg Drug Free Coalition
  • Kill Devil Hills, NC: Dare Coalition Against Substance Abuse, Inc.
  • Murphy, NC:  Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Cherokee County
  • Shelby, NC: Cleveland County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition

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Carteret County Working to Reduce Rx Drug Diversion

Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck and District Attorney Scott Thomas announced in May the undercover drug operation called “Operation Pill Crusher,” which targeted illegal sales and diversion of prescription drugs and other illegal drugs.

More than 80 people have been charged as part of the sales.  In the months ahead of the operation, detectives made hundreds of controlled purchases from over 100 drug dealers operating in Carteret County.

“Prescription drug diversion results in increased criminal activity and drug addiction and this is one of the major challenges we face in Carteret County,” said Sheriff Asa Buck about last week’s convictions.  “I am very pleased with the sentences handed down in the “Operation Pill Crusher” cases.  I commend the detectives of the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office for their diligent efforts making criminal cases on these drug dealers and I would like to thank District Attorney Scott Thomas and Assistant District Attorney Dave Spence for all their hard work and taking a strong stance in prosecuting these cases.  I hope this will send a message to all that we are very serious about prosecuting drug dealers in and around Carteret County.”

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“Smart” Wristband Developed to Detect Drunkeness

Students from the University of Washington have developed a wristband, called Vive, that monitors alcohol and dehydration levels, essentially telling wearers how intoxicated they are.  The designers claim the band can curb the likelihood of sexual assault and other compromising situations likely arise a club or party.

Once the band detects you’re drinking, it will occasionally vibrate to “check in” with you.  All you need to do is squeeze the bracelet to let Vive know you’re still doing well and are in control.  If you don’t squeeze the band, your friends will be notified, so they can come find you and make sure you’re okay.

The non-working prototype was presented at the annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit Design Expo 2014, and there is no word yet on how soon such a product would actually be available for public use.