Why FASD Connections; Why Adolescents and Adults; Why Now?
The accepted prevalence rated for FASD in North America is conservatively estimated at 1% of the population. In Canada, that translates into about 300,000 people, the vast majority of whom are 15 years of age or older (24,281,555 over 15, Canadian census data 2001 x 1% = 242,815 alcohol affected teens and adults!!). FASD has profound consequences for affected individuals and wide-ranging implications for society at large. The financial cost to society is estimated at about ***2.9 million dollars (CDN) (FASD Fact Sheet, FASD Centre for Excellence, Subtance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, US Department of Health) over the lifespan of each individual, excluding many costs, including those associated with the criminal legal system. There is no mechanism in place to even begin to estimate the financial, social, emotional and psychological costs to the individual and his/her family.
Through the inaction of society’s adult disability support systems, adolescents and adults with FASD have become our homeless, addicted, incarcerated, disenfranchised and most marginalized members of society. The result has become a growing social and financial catastrophe for families, leaving these adults, who have the desire and potential to contribute, without the necessary resources to do so.
How does one put a monetary value on the unnecessary loss of productivity, contribution, belonging, happiness, inclusion, family, competence, success – quality of life for affected adults?? How does one put a monetary value on the loss of relationships, retirement, financial security, health, the “conclusion” of parenting – quality of life for parents??