Welcome to the Native Initiative section of the SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence Website. This section of the site addresses fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian communities. FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. The term FASD is not used as a clinical diagnosis. It refers to conditions such as fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder, and alcohol-related birth defects.
Pregnancy is a sacred time, and mothers want to do all that is possible to ensure they will deliver healthy babies. The Native Initiative supports this natural desire to protect and nurture life. It works with Native communities to spread the word that drinking during pregnancy can harm babies.
Native cultures are known for their understanding of healing, wellness, and the cycles of nature. The Native Initiative works with these strengths and the strengths of community elders to bring Native people messages about FASD that are culturally respectful and meaningful.