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Alcohol is a toxin that affects a fetus regardless of a person’s financial status, social status, nationality, race, or religious beliefs.

Due to recent studies in Toronto, Ontario and the United States (2018), the estimated prevalence rate of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is 4% of the general population.  This means 4 out of every 100 people could have FASD.

The prevalence rate of FASD could be even higher in certain groups in the population. This is based on a review of FASD research studies completed worldwide over the past few decades (2019).  The groups identified to have a prevalence rate of 10-40 times higher than the general population are individuals in the care of child protection agencies, involved in the justice or corrections system, special education, specialized clinical populations (including psychiatric clinics, and genetic clinics).  It has been a longstanding stereotype that the indigenous population has a high prevalence rate of FASD; further research is needed as it is not clear.

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Individuals with FASD can also have other co-occuring conditions:

  • Physical issues

    • Chromosomal abnormalities

    • Deformities

    • Malformations from birth

  • Mental and Behavioural disorders:

    • Anxiety Disorder

    • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    • Conduct Disorder

    • Depression

    • Intellectual Disability

    • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    • Oppositional Defiance Disorder

    • Psychosocial impacts (e.g. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder)

    • Tourette’s Syndrome

    • Other mental health disorders


Popova, S., et al. (2018, April).  World Health Organizational study on the prevalence of FASD Canadian component.  Centre for addiction and mental health.

Philip, A., et al. (2018, February). Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in 4 US Communities.  American Medical Association.

Popova, Svetlana, et al. (2017). Estimation of national, regional, and global prevalence of alcohol use in pregnancy and fetal alcohol syndrome: a systematic review.

McLachlin, Kaitlyn (2017, November).  Hamilton FASD Conference 2017.  Moving Forward FASD Conference.  Hamilton, Ontario.

CanFASD Foundations Training, copyright 2016.

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