News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Kelly
For Immediate Release: April 09, 2018

Senate Approves Bill to Curb Prenatal Alcohol & Drug Exposure

Kelly_stamp.jpgSenator Pete Kelly
  ~ Send Email
  ~ Web Site

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today passed a bill to help curb the epidemic of prenatal drug and alcohol exposure in Alaska.

SB 198 directs the University of Alaska Anchorage Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (CAAS) to conduct a study evaluating the effectiveness of providing long-acting, reversible contraception to high-risk women, with the goal of improving health outcomes and preventing prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol.

Alaska has one the highest rates of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) in the nation; approximately 120 children are diagnosed with FASDs every year. Each child born with the disorder will cost the state between $860,000 and $4.2 million from birth to age 18, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

In 2013, Sen. Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks), created a think-tank of Alaskans to address the problem of FASDs in Alaska. The group known as “Empowering Hope” directed its efforts at defeating FASDs, not merely coping with their effects.

Alaska is also plagued by a growing rate of maternal opioid use, which has resulted in a drastic increase in babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). NAS occurs when a child suffers withdrawal symptoms after the discontinued use of addictive drugs. The rate of children born with this syndrome in Alaska increased over 500 percent between 2004 to 2015.

“The progress we are seeing on preventing prenatal alcohol and drug exposure is encouraging,” said Sen. Kelly, the bill’s sponsor. “It’s beginning to get the attention of clinical researchers from around the U.S. and even internationally. This bill brings together the efforts of our research community, and Empowering Hope and groups like it, to change lives for the better.”

As the premier addiction research unit within Alaska’s public university system, CAAS is the ideal partner to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of providing Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) to women involved in the Neonatal Abstinence Evaluation Support Treatment (NEST) program, with the goal of improving health outcomes and prevent further drug and alcohol exposure in children.

SB 198 passed the Senate by a vote of 19 to 1 and is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.  

For more information, contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 465-4066.


icon-facebook.png Share Share this on Twitter Tweet

News & Videos more >

Senator Peter Micciche

Bill Ensuring Clean Air in the Workplace Becomes Law

ANCHORAGE – A bill to protect Alaskans from the adverse health effects of secondhand smoke in the workplace was signed into law this week by Gov. Bill Walker....  Full Story >>

Senator Bert Stedman

Sen. Stedman Sends Criminal Referral for Leak of Confidential Audit

ANCHORAGE – Today, Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka), chairman of the Legislative Budget & Audit Committee, sent the Department of Law a criminal referral for the unauthorized leak of a...  Full Story >>

Senator Bert Stedman

Sen. Stedman Accepts Appointment to National Petroleum Council

ANCHORAGE – Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) today announced he will serve on the National Petroleum Council (NPC) following his appointment to the board by the Secretary of the Department...  Full Story >>

Senator Peter Micciche

Bill to Reduce Regulatory Burden on Working Alaskans Becomes Law

ANCHORAGE – A bill to reduce the state’s regulatory burden on barbers, hairdressers, hair braiders and those with student loans was signed into law today by Gov. Bill Walker....  Full Story >>

Senator Pete Kelly

Senate Adjourns Sine Die

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today adjourned the second session of the 30th Alaska Legislature, sine die.  Full Story >>

Senator Pete Kelly

Legislature Restores Private Property Rights in Dalton Highway Corrido

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today passed a bill to restore access rights to private homesteaded property owners in the James Dalton Highway corridor.  Full Story >>

Senator Anna MacKinnon

Legislature Votes to Reform School Curriculum

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today passed legislation providing students across Alaska access to the best curriculum in the world.  Full Story >>

Senator Pete Kelly

Legislature Helps Deliver Natural Gas to Interior

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today took another step toward clean and affordable natural gas in Fairbanks and North Pole with the passage of legislation extending the bonding...  Full Story >>

Senator Lyman Hoffman

Legislature Approves State Operating Budget

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today concurred with the final version of the state operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019, totaling $3.1 billion in unrestricted general funds (UGF) for...  Full Story >>

Senator Cathy Giessel

Senate Approves Program to Pay Outstanding Tax Credit Debt

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today approved a program to resolve nearly $1 billion owed to small oil and gas companies and reinvigorate work in the state’s oil patch....  Full Story >>

Find your Senator full map