- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Alaska — which has the nation’s highest rate of fetal alcohol syndrome — is rolling out a new campaign to counter the newborn defect by putting pregnancy tests in select bar and restaurant bathrooms, beginning this December.

The program is funded by the state and is going forth at the request of University of Alaska researchers who think warning signs about drinking while pregnant might be better placed on test kit dispensers, instead of simply on wall posters, Fox News reported.

“This is not a strategy for the chronic alcoholic who is drinking regardless of whatever message they see,” said Jody Allen Crowe, who started a similar program in Minnesota, the Anchorage Daily News reported. “This is really focused on the 50 percent of unexpected pregnancies, to find out they are pregnant as early as possible.”

Fetal alcohol syndrome causes brain damage and growth issues for children and it can start in a fetus that’s only one month into the development stage. Alaskan women who are of age to bear children are 20 percent more likely to binge drink than women of the same age in other states, Fox reported.