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10 September 2019

Commissioners issue proclamations for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day, National Recovery Month

Greene County Commissioners recently issued proclamations for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day and National Recovery Month.
WAYNESBURG, PA – During their Sept. 4 meeting, Greene County Commissioners issued two separate proclamations recognizing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day and National Recovery Month. 

The proclamation issued for FASD Awareness Day, which is recognized on September 9, identifies that human services organizations, health care professionals, educators and the public are called to action to work together to reduce occurrence of FASDs.

This can be done, according to the proclamation, by increasing awareness and improving public health efforts in the delivery of the preventative health message that women who are pregnant or considering getting pregnant should abstain from drinking alcohol.

The proclamation was presented to Melissa Kirk, director of the Greene County Human Services’ Drug and Alcohol Program; and Tracie Sypin, Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist.

According to information provided by Kirk, prenatal alcohol exposure is a preventable cause of birth defects and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Although the exact number of people worldwide who have been diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) – an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was exposed to alcohol before birth – is unknown, it is estimated that one in 20 U.S. school children may have a FASD – a rate comparable to autism – and roughly 40,000 babies are born with effects of prenatal alcohol exposure annually.      

It has also been reported that the lifetime cost for one individual with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – the most recognizable condition along the spectrum – is estimated to be $2 million, with a combined cost to the U.S. for FAS alone over $4 billion annually.

Alarmingly, it has also been reported that among pregnant women, one in nine reported alcohol use and one in 26 reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.   

In presenting the proclamation, Commissioner Blair Zimmerman said the Board of Commissioners pledges to “continue to partner with organizations, health care professionals, educators and the public to raise awareness about our unified message: ‘Pregnancy and alcohol don’t mix.’”   

Greene County Commissioner Dave Coder said the Board of Commissioners join with the Greene County Drug and Alcohol Program as well as as many dedicated volunteers, health care professional, educators and parent groups by participating in the awareness campaign.

Commissioner Archie Trader added that “the good health and well-being of the people of Greene County are enhanced by the support of a national effort to educate about and prevent FASDs.”

Commissioners also proclaimed September National Recovery Month. 

This proclamation was presented to Kirk and Human Services Caseworkers Jennifer Jones, Heather Yeager, Melissa Balogh and Erin Henry.

The proclamation states that recovery from mental and substance abuse disorders and co-occurring disorders is effective, and people can and do recover in this area and around the nation.    

“Addressing and overcoming mental and substance abuse disorders and co-occurring disorders is essential to achieving healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally,” the proclamation states. 

Greene County Commissioner Blair Zimmerman said everyone “must encourage relatives and friends of people with mental and substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders to implement preventive measures, recognize the signs of problems and encourage those in need of help to seek appropriate treatment and recovery support services.”

Commissioner Dave Coder said the Board of Commissioners “joins the Greene County Human Services’ Drug and Alcohol program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in encouraging all residents of Greene County to participate in National Recovery Month.”

Commissioner Archie Trader agreed, adding that residents can observe the month with appropriate programs, activities and ceremonies to support the 2019 Recovery Month theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger,” and to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Recovery Month observance.     

Kirk thanked the Commissioners for the proclamations and for their support, and encouraged any and all residents wishing to obtain more information about FASDs, recovery and/or any other topics pertaining to drug and alcohol prevention to call Human Services at 724-852-5276.

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In this photo:
Greene County Commissioners recently issued proclamations for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day and National Recovery Month. Pictured (l. to r.): Melissa Balogh, Caseworker; Commissioner Dave Coder; Erin Henry, Caseworker; Tracie Sypin, Prevention Specialist; Commissioner Archie Trader; Melissa Kirk, Director of the county's Drug and Alcohol Program; Commissioner Blair Zimmerman; and Jennifer Jones and Heather Yeager, Caseworkers.