Before taking a sip of alcohol at nearly a dozen local bars and restaurants, San Diegans will be reminded of the dangers of mixing alcohol and pregnancy thanks to a beverage coaster campaign led by the new Southern California chapter of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (SoCal NOFAS), in partnership with University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
Members of SoCal NOFAS, a non-profit housed at UC San Diego, will hand out “Pregnant? Don’t Drink” coasters to ten participating bars and restaurants in the San Diego region on September 9 in honor of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day. The following are among the establishments that have agreed to replace their existing beverage coasters with printed coasters that include facts about the dangerous effects of alcohol exposure on a developing baby:
Pitchers, Rancho Penasquitos
Jersey Boys Diner, Imperial Beach
Hess Brewing, North Park
Diamond Jims, Chula Vista
Downtown Café, El Cajon
El Rey, Pauma Valley
The Vineyard Wines & Tastes, Valley Center
Portino’s Fresh Italian, Valley Center
Lazy H Ranch, Pauma Valley
The Gopher Hole at Castle Creek Country Club, Escondido
The Eagles Nest, Valley Center
As many as 1 out of every 100 babies are estimated to be affected by prenatal alcohol exposure, which can result in FASD, a range of neurobehavioral disabilities.
“I know first-hand about the harm caused by prenatal alcohol exposure,” said Peggy Combs-Way, SoCal NOFAS president and mother to a daughter diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), the most severe condition associated with drinking alcohol during pregnancy. “My daughter has had to struggle her whole life with simple, everyday tasks and behaviors, something that could have been avoided if she hadn’t been exposed to alcohol during my pregnancy.”
Combs-Way is determined to raise awareness about this preventable disorder.
“If I had been better educated on the topic, I would have been able to make better choices,” said Combs-Way.
Combs-Way is gratified that so many local establishments have agreed to help boost FASD education by participating in this community effort. Gregg Lalka, owner of participating Imperial Beach restaurant, Jersey Boys Diner, said he is honored to be part of this important message.
“I’m so blessed to have a healthy child, and if I can help someone else’s chances of also having a healthy child by encouraging my customers to avoid alcohol during pregnancy, then it’s the least I can do,” Lalka said.
FASD Awareness Day has been recognized on the ninth day of the ninth month since 1999 as a reminder for women to abstain from drinking alcohol during the nine months of pregnancy. In addition, proclamations are issued in countries, states, provinces and towns all around the world. Bells are rung at 9:09 a.m. in every time zone from New Zealand to Alaska.
A website for the new SoCal NOFAS chapter will soon be available listing local resources for families affected by FASD. In the meantime, those seeking more information about its national parent affiliate are encouraged to visit www.NOFAS.org
Nicole Chavez, 858-246-1745, firstname.lastname@example.org