Study: Fetal alcohol syndrome more common than expected

GREAT NECK – More children have been affected by drinking during pregnancy than previously thought, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study found that fetal alcohol syndrome may be at least as common as autism.

“Once you drink, and the effect is there, the damage is done,” says Dr. Jill Rabin, an OBGYN at Northwell Health.

Complications include intellectual problems, physical problems, facial deformities and body growth issues.

The study tested 7,000 first-graders nationwide. It estimates that 1.1 to 5 percent of them have neurological damage. For comparison, 1.5 percent of children are on the autism spectrum.

Steve Chassman, LCSW, CASAC (Email), of the nonprofit group LICADD, says people right now are mindful of opioid abuse, but alcohol still kills more people.

“Even though there were 64,000 fatalities nationally around opiates, there were 88,000 fatalities around alcohol,” he says.

The doctors at Northwell Health say 50 percent of pregnancies are unplanned. If you find out your pregnant and you’ve been drinking, you need to stop immediately.

For more than 60 years, LICADD has successfully delivered evidence-based programs designed to prevent and treat substance abuse and addiction. LICADD offers crisis intervention, screenings, brief interventions, referrals to treatment and several family and parent education workshops to help Long Islanders struggling with the effects of addiction. Through our Open Arms, EAP Program, LICADD has provided targeted solution-focused support to companies all along the East Coast, serving over 60,000 employees and their families.

LICADD is Long Island’s premier non-profit agency providing life-saving alcohol and drug prevention and intervention services to at-risk children, individuals, and families across the region. With offices in Mineola, Holbrook and Riverhead, LICADD conducts evidence-based prevention programs, community outreach initiatives, and a mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents and public policy advocacy.

For more information please call (516) 747-2606 or visit us on the web at and Facebook and Instagram.

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CONTACT: Christopher Kelly
Development & Communications Associate