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Calling all Canadian artists with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)!

Since 2016, CanFASD has been hosting an art competition for individuals with FASD. The winner’s art is featured on our CanFASD holiday cards and our website.  The winner will receive a $500 prize and 10 of the printed holiday cards.

Channel your imagination and get creative! Competition details are below!

The competition is open to Canadian residents with FASD.

Your art can be a sculpture, a painting, a photo, a drawing, a digital creation or anything you can think of. The only limit is your imagination! Just remember your art will be submitted digitally. If you are creating a sculpture or painting, it would be best to submit a photograph or digital scan of your work.

The submission deadline is 12:00 PM EST November 25, 2019. Submit your art in a digital format at 1500 x 2100 pixels (or larger) to Please include a short bio that explains who you are and what inspired you to create this artwork.


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The Prevention Conversation

  • The Prevention Conversation has trained over 15,000 individuals since 2014 to discuss alcohol and the related risks with all women of childbearing age.
  • In addition, over 20,000 people have accessed FASD prevention conversation resources through community development initiatives.
  • Those trained have since reported a significant increase in knowledge around FASD and feel they know how to support women who have confirmed drinking while pregnant.


CanFASD’s July 2017 research suggested that 4% of individuals in Canada have FASD, an increase from the previous 1-2%. Although FASD supports and services were in place in Alberta, an effective public prevention strategy was necessary. As a result, the Government of Alberta adult prevention initiative called, “Let’s Talk about Alcohol and Pregnancy” was started to target 18-45-year-old women of childbearing years. But what about the kids? Shortly after, the “Let’s Get Real About Sex and Drinking” was developed to target adolescents between the ages of 12-17 years. 

The program has been developed as a train-the trainer model, enabling those that work with adolescent audiences to train their youth and consequently, build capacity.

Resources were developed that include:

  • Let’s Get Real Training Manual
  • Let’s Get Real Presentation
  • Let’s Get Real Game
  • Let’s Get Real Website
  • Let’s Get Real Instagram and SnapChat
  • Tips Sheets

Anyone interested in the resources or training should go to the Contact page to connect with the FASD Network office in their area.

But first, click here to visit the Let’s Get Real website!


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#MommyNeedsWine: Growing trend shows more women are dependent on alcohol

A lot of moms joke around about drinking wine to cope with those whining kid moments but the truth is women are consuming more alcohol more frequently than ever before and that’s a problem.

A lot of moms joke around about drinking wine to cope with those whining kid moments but the truth is women are consuming more alcohol more frequently than ever before and that’s a problem. (KWQC)

According to the National Institutes of Health, the amount of women in the U.S. with an alcohol use disorder has increased by nearly 84 percent in recent years.

So why is it happening? Well, there’ a shift in culture and it’s amplified by social media.

Like yoga pants, lattes and minivans; making jokes about moms drinking wine is a cliche.

You’ve seen the funny anecdotes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; “mommy’s sippy cup”, letter boards next to a bottle of wine using the kids as an excuse to pop it open and memes that say things like ‘a bottle of wine fixes everything’.

But some moms actually feel like they need alcohol to deal with motherhood.

Michelle is married with three kids. She’s also in recovery.

While she’s proud of that TV6 is protecting her family’s privacy and keeping her anonymous.

“I’m very ashamed of some of the things that I did,” Michelle tells TV6. “I was looking for any excuse to justify the sickness and the addiction that I was struggling with but seeing it normalized it made me feel like, ‘see, I’m okay’.”

Social media is inundated with the Mommy Needs Wine culture and it’s spilling out into real life.

Karen Relf is the program director at the Abbey, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Bettendorf.

“Had a rough day, go home, have a drink, feel better,” Relf said. “Next day the whole cycle starts over again.”

We’ve heard it referred to lightheartedly as a “time out” just for mom but the CDC defines excessive drinking as either binge drinking or heavy drinking.

Women who are binge drinking are having four or more drinks during a single occasion. Heavy drinkers are having eight or more drinks a week.

You can see how a glass of wine after every rough day at work or too many tantrums can quickly become a dependency.

“When someone is looking at alcohol as a reward of some type, it’s numbing the system,” Relf said.

Like most moms who drink, Michelle was looking for that relief.

“It was just a vicious, ugly cycle,” Michelle said. “I had gotten to the place where I was secretly drinking almost daily and was trying to hide it from everyone.”

Click here for full article.


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CCSA Survey: Substance Use In Canada 2020


Assessing the impact of the opioid overdose crisis on individuals providing harm reduction services across Canada: Survey

Welcome to the research survey. The following information is provided to inform you about the research. If you wish to participate in the research and complete the survey, you will be asked to click on a button later on this page to provide your consent.

Who is conducting this survey?

The survey is being conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

What is CCSA?

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) is Canada’s only national agency dedicated to reducing the harms of alcohol and other drugs on society, mobilizing knowledge, informing policy and practice, and improving services and supports. For more information about CCSA please visit

What is the purpose of the survey?

The purpose of this survey is to gather information on the experiences and needs of individuals who provide harm reduction services in the context of the ongoing opioid overdose crisis across Canada.

The intent is to understand better the benefits and challenges being experienced by people providing harm reduction services during the overdose crisis. Additionally, we would like to understand the services and supports that could be put in place to ensure the well-being of the people performing this work. The survey findings will be used to educate health system planners, and policy and decision makers about the experiences of individuals providing harm reduction services and how they can facilitate these services as one component of the response to opioid harms.

Who can participate?

The survey is open to individuals of legal age (18 years for Quebec, Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba; 19 years for all other provinces and territories) to provide informed consent for research, and who reside in Canada and who provide harm reduction services to others in some capacity.

How long will it take to complete the survey?

Depending on how much information you choose to include in the open-ended questions, the survey takes approximately 30–35 minutes to complete.

What will happen to the information I provide?

This project has been reviewed by Advarra IRB, an independent ethics committee that reviewed the ethical aspects of this study to help protect the rights and welfare of study participants.

The survey will be hosted on a secure server located in Canada. Your individual responses are anonymous and confidential, with the exception of your email address should you choose to enter a draw for compensation. In this case, CCSA project staff will be the only ones to see the email address you provide, so absolute confidentiality cannot guaranteed. If you choose not to provide your email address, your identity will never become known to the researchers.

Publicly, the data collected by the survey will be reported as group results only, and personal information will not be identifiable in any reports that CCSA produces. If you choose to enter comments, we may quote your responses for emphasis in our reporting, but no identifying information will be included.

Representatives of the research ethics review board, Advarra IRB, may have access to the information collected for this study, at the study site, only in the case of an audit.

To enter the draw to win a $20 Tim Horton’s gift card after you have completed the survey, we will need you to provide an email address, which we will use to send you the e-gift card. You will have a one in five chance to win the gift card. The researchers who are analyzing the data will receive a data file that does not include any identifying information. The draw will take place once the data collection period has ended. There is no financial cost to you or your employer for study participation.

The results of this study will be presented in reports and publications available from CCSA. You can email if you would like information about the survey results.

What are the risks of the study?

You could feel uncomfortable when answering some of the questions in the survey. Contact information for general help phone lines will be provided throughout the survey.

What if I am not comfortable answering a survey question?

At any time in the survey, if there are any questions you do not feel comfortable answering, please skip the question, and continue to the next question that you feel comfortable answering. You can also stop and leave the survey at any time. If you prefer, you can save your progress and return to complete the survey when you have more time; however, this would require you to provide a user name and email address to obtain a password to return to the survey.

Alternatives to participation

This  study is for research purposes only. The only alternative is to not participate in it.


Information learned from the study could help improve services and supports available to you and others who provide harm reduction services in the future.

Voluntary participation

Your decision to participate in this study is voluntary. You can choose not to participate or you can withdraw from the study for any reason without penalty or loss of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled.

If at any point during the survey you experience any troubling thoughts or feelings and would like to speak to a mental health professional, click on the link below to access a list of help lines you can contact for assistance. This link will also appear on every page of the survey.

General Help Lines

Who can I contact about the survey?

If you experience technical difficulties with the survey, please contact

If you have any concerns about the survey or how it is being conducted, please email You can also request a copy of the information provided about the study.

An institutional review board (IRB) is an independent committee established to help protect the rights of research subjects. If you have any questions about your rights as a research subject, and/or concerns or complaints regarding this research study, contact:

    • By mail:
      Study Subject Adviser
      Advarra IRB
      6940 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 110
      Columbia, MD 21046
    • By telephone, toll free: 877-992-4724

Please reference the following number when contacting the Study Subject Adviser: Pro00034019.

How do I participate?

If you understand the information above and would like to complete the research survey, please indicate your consent to participate by clicking the button below.

The survey will close on approximately September 30, 2019.

Click here to consent to participate in the survey.


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New Resource: Succession Planning

New Resource: Succession Planning

CanFASD staff have recently put together a document for Caregivers of individuals with FASD, titled ‘Succession Planning: What parents & caregivers of a loved one with FASD need to know’. This resource is intended to help guide you in planning for your child/loved one, when you are no longer around to take care of them, including information on:

  • Estate Planning
  • Trusts
  • Guardianship
  • RDSP & Disability Tax Credit
  • Self-directed Support Organizations
  • Personal Support Networks & Circles of Support
  • Other Helpful Resources
  • Resources by Province/Territory

To read the full resource, visit the ‘Caregivers’ section of the CanFASD website.

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harm reduction and pregnancy- western Canada approaches

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What is harm reduction?

“Harm Reduction refers to policies, programs and practices that aim to reduce the negative health, social and economic consequences that may ensue from the use of legal and illegal psychoactive drugs, without necessarily reducing drug use.” Canadian Harm Reduction Network,

Since the 1990s, services for pregnant women and mothers using harm reduction approaches have emerged in many areas of Canada. Harm reduction is an approach that helps to reduce the negative effects of alcohol and drug use at the same time as helping women to meet their immediate health, social and safety needs.

Pregnancy is often described as an opportunity to support women in improving their health, including efforts to decrease or stop substance use or increase safer use of drugs. Harm reduction approaches are a pragmatic response to addressing substance use. They recognize that substance use is just one factor among many that shapes a healthy pregnancy and that reducing or stopping substance use at any time during pregnancy can have positive effects on women’s health and the health of the fetus.

Many Canadian programs and services are gaining attention for their successes in using a harm reduction approach to engage pregnant women with problematic substance use, improving women’s health, and ensuring that women and their babies have the best possible start in life. This resource provides a short introduction to harm reduction approaches during pregnancy and uses examples from programs across Canada to illustrate harm reduction ‘in action.’

Click here to download the booklet.

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