Alaska is making a major — and slightly nontraditional — move to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome. Starting in December, free pregnancy tests will be placed in 20 bars and restaurants across the state. The program, led by the University of Alaska, Anchorage, hopes to reduce the state's rate of fetal alcohol syndrome, which is the highest in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 180 children in Alaska are born with the condition each year, and women in the state are 20 percent more likely to binge drink than the national average. State Sen. Pete Kelly, who proposed the two-year program, hopes the tests will get women to think twice before they have a drink.
A similar program was implemented two years ago in Minnesota by the nonprofit organization Healthy Brains For Children. While the organization is still analyzing the data, founder Jody Allen Crowe says the reaction has been positive.
"There's a lot of anecdotal evidence of people being very thankful that the pregnancy tests are in the bars," Crowe tells Today.
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