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Grog Hits Indigenous Babies

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Fitzroy crossing image

Grog Hits Indigenous Babies

The nation's first comprehensive study of the impact of excessive drinking on unborn Aboriginal children has revealed devastating rates of intellectual disability.

 

The study, conducted in Western Australia's Kimberley region, found that half of babies there are born with disabilities from foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

 

The research, undertaken by the Lililwan Project, found that one in two Aboriginal children attending school in the region's Fitzroy Valley has the disorder, a condition that ranges in severity from severe learning and behavioural problems to acute intellectual impairment.

 

The study has stunned policymakers in Canberra and carries massive implications for the Northern Territory and Queensland governments, which plan to deregulate drinking in Aboriginal communities that had previously decided to be ''dry''.

 

Advertisement It also carries grave implications for the Gillard government's ''Closing the Gap'' targets.

 

A survey of eight-year-old children and their mothers' drinking patterns over two years identified much higher rates of the disorder than previously thought, and confirmed what experts have been claiming for years: that excessive alcohol consumption is devastating indigenous communities throughout Australia.

 

According to experts who gave evidence to a federal parliamentary inquiry into foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which will report later this month, undiagnosed foetal brain damage is linked to autism, youth suicide, high rates of indigenous incarceration, chronic unemployment and poor education outcomes in Aboriginal communities.


 

References and further information

The original article was produced by The Age.

 

For the rest of the article, visit the Age.com.au website.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/grog-hits-indigenous-babies-20121111-296hs.html

 

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