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2CH news comments

Generations with foetal alcohol disorder

#968 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 28 Sep 2014.

The Daily Telegraph reports the tragic news this week that foetal alcohol syndrome in Indigenous communities is moving into second and third generations, as parents severely affected by the disorder struggle to raise their children.

Elizabeth Elliott, a paediatrician at Children’s Hospital Westmead, told a parliamentary inquiry that “Some [Indigenous] mothers who are giving birth to children with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder may themselves have been damaged by alcohol in-utero and hence have quite a limited capacity to parent and school that child.”

Federal MP Dr Sharman Stone, chairwoman of the federal Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs, which is examining the harmful use of alcohol in indigenous communities, said alcohol was decimating Aboriginal communities.

But with progressive policies to restrict alcohol consumption derided as the “nanny state” in action, or (worse) institutionalized racism, it is difficult to propose acceptable solutions for the good of this and the next generation.

I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.

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