Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/08/1993 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HCR 7 - ALCOHOL-RELATED BIRTH DEFECTS AWARENESS                              
                                                                               
  Number 030                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. IRENE NICHOLIA testified as PRIME SPONSOR of the                        
  resolution.  She read a sponsor statement, which is on file                  
  in the committee room.  In summary, she said HCR 7 was an                    
  attempt to inform the public about the problem of babies                     
  born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) or Fetal Alcohol                      
  Effect (FAE), and the rates in which Alaska leads the                        
  nation.  Such defects cost society as a whole in health care                 
  expenses.  The individuals involved are hurt because their                   
  development is retarded.  She said the problem is                            
  preventable.  Information is the first step toward                           
  prevention, and resolutions such as hers are a first step                    
  toward greater public information.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 071                                                                   
                                                                               
  ERMALEE HICKEL, ALASKA'S FIRST LADY, testified in Juneau in                  
  support of HCR 7.  She said alcohol-related birth defects,                   
  which are preventable, are a leading cause of birth defects                  
  and developmental disabilities; cost the state in health                     
  care costs; are not limited to any one social group; and                     
  represent a growing problem in the state.  She said men                      
  share the responsibility for helping pregnant women avoid                    
  alcohol.  She cited the success of the Dena A Coy program, a                 
  Southcentral Foundation group home in Anchorage where                        
  expectant mothers with alcohol problems can live alcohol                     
  free in an effort to avoid alcohol-related birth defects.                    
  She presented the governor's proclamation declaring May 9                    
  through 15, 1993, as Alcohol-Related Birth Defects Awareness                 
  Week.  She encouraged passage of HCR 7 as part of a                          
  statewide education program.                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 175                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE thanked Mrs. Hickel, and expressed special                        
  concern over FAS/FAE in light of the state's high teen                       
  pregnancy rate.  He asked whether women in the Dena A Coy                    
  program have drinking problems, and whether they can enter                   
  the program as soon as they discover they are pregnant.                      
                                                                               
  MRS. HICKEL answered yes, given space restrictions.                          
                                                                               
  Number 214                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY moved passage of HCR 7 with individual                            
  recommendations.                                                             
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS said he appreciated Rep. Nicholia's                            
  sponsorship and Mrs. Hickel's support.  He asked whether the                 
  resolution should not include notice that FAS/FAE was a                      
  preventable birth defect.                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 234                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE pointed out that the fourth "whereas" clause in                   
  the resolution did address that point.                                       
                                                                               
  Number 246                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY invited public testimony.                                       
                                                                               
  SUZANNE PERRY, REGIONAL PROGRAM COORDINATOR FOR THE DIVISION                 
  OF ALCOHOLISM AND DRUG ABUSE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND                 
  SOCIAL SERVICES, presented a slide show on FAS/FAE,                          
  outlining the symptoms of FAS/FAE and showing the physical                   
  characteristics and stunted development of children born                     
  with alcohol-related birth defects in Alaska.                                
                                                                               
  Number 400                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY asked whether a female child born with FAS will                 
  later pass along the syndrome's physical deformities to her                  
  children.                                                                    
                                                                               
  MS. PERRY answered no.  She added that the best way to                       
  prevent FAS/FAE is for women to abstain from any alcohol                     
  during pregnancy.                                                            
                                                                               
  Number 419                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY noted that a drug counselor had told her that                   
  about 68 percent of children born in either Bethel or                        
  Barrow, she did not remember which, were born with FAS or                    
  FAE.                                                                         
                                                                               
  MS. PERRY agreed that the problem is an epidemic.                            
                                                                               
  Number 424                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked whether infants can get FAS through the                     
  alcohol that might be present in mother's milk.                              
                                                                               
  MS. PERRY answered no, but a child's development may be                      
  impaired by ingesting alcohol while young.                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE referred to a case in which an ultimately                         
  unsuccessful attempt was made to convict a Bethel woman with                 
  child abuse for drinking alcohol while nursing and passing                   
  along alcohol to her child while nursing.                                    
                                                                               
  Number 437                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY asked for any objections to passing HCR 7 from                  
  the committee. Hearing none, he declared HCR 7 passed with                   
  individual recommendations.  She then brought HB 3 to the                    
  table.                                                                       

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