Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Damage in Northern Native Communities: A Practical School-Based Approach


  • Steven Jacquier


This article describes a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome prevention program, "FASD in Lab Mice," that had a dramatic effect in increasing Alaska Native students' understanding of the lifelong neurological and physical damage caused by drinking during pregnancy and, more importantly, led them to engage in active prevention efforts in their own and other Native communities. Informational programs typically used in the schools create little student interest and students often do not see connections between their own experience and the atypically extreme examples such prevention programs tend to emphasize. The "FASD in Lab Mice" prevention program, using actual experiments conducted by the students themselves, provides compelling evidence regarding the pervasive effects of alcohol on the developing fetus. The program received strong support from Native communities and incorporated community values of reverence for animal life with the use of animals for practical human purposes. Long-term quantitative as well as qualitative research on the effectiveness of this program model is needed.