The Maternal Substance Abuse and Child Development Project (MSACD) began life as the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Screening project in 1981. At that time, the Georgia Legislature had the foresight to establish a program for screening pregnant women for alcohol use in order to identify the extent of the problem in Georgia as well as methods for prevention in this group. In the early 1980's, there was still considerable debate about the extent of this problem and, indeed, about the existence of FAS and other conditions resulting from prenatal exposure to substances of abuse. The FAS Screening project was among the first to work with this problem and was able to establish that alcohol effects could be seen in the newborn infant.
We also found that an informational intervention with pregnant women could reduce alcohol and other drug use and improve birth outcomes. Thirty percent of the drinking women we interviewed stopped use and delivered babies who were of normal birth weight and had better developmental outcome. As part of this project, we developed the Dysmorphia Checklist, as screening tool for use in FAS clinics that reliably and validly identifies alcohol effects in children and adolescents. At the present time, we continue to work with alcohol-affected children and adults to describe the long-term effects of exposure. You can find more information about our findings on this Website at our Research section or our current studies at our Adult Assessment Project section.
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A recent report from the Maternal Substance Abuse and Child Development Project. . . suggests that delinquent behavior is more strongly related to current environmental factors such as stressful life events and parental characteristics and behavior than to prenatal alcohol exposure.