CBC: Growing number of babies exposed to drugs during pregnancy


The number of babies exposed to illicit drugs during pregnancy in Newfoundland and Labrador nearly tripled over the past five years, increasing from 11 infants in 2012 to 29 newborns in 2017.

Provincial statistics show the number of newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome, who need to be weened off drug dependencies with morphine, has also grown.

Two babies needed that treatment in 2012. Health officials say eight infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome required morphine in 2017.

Drugs during pregnancy

The number of mothers in this province who’ve used drugs while pregnant has hovered around 2 percent for each of the past three years, based on self-reported data collected through the provincial health-care system.

About 4,500 babies are born in Newfoundland and Labrador annually, which means last year about 90 mothers self-reported using drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, solvents and methadone while they were pregnant.

The number of babies who test positive for illicit drugs at birth is lower than the number of mothers who self reported drug use because in some cases the use may have been earlier in the pregnancy, so the drugs would no longer show up in the newborn’s system.

These numbers come from the Newfoundland and Labrador Prenatal Record, Live Birth Notification form, and health care record of every mother and baby born in the province that received care from a facility within a regional health authority.

Eastern Health told CBC News that maternal alcohol use, tobacco smoking and illicit substance use information is captured during the first, second or third trimester through self-reported information.

Growing problem across Canada

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) says 1,846 babies were admitted to Canadian hospitals between April 2016 and March 31, 2017 after their mothers used opioids during pregnancy.

This total doesn’t include Quebec, which keeps its own numbers.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction says drug exposure can affect the earliest stages of development. It also can have longer-term harmful effects that carry into early childhood and beyond.

Mark Quinn · CBC News · 

Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/babies-drug-dependencies-1.4621257?_cldee=bGlzYS5yb2dvemluc2t5QGNzc2FsYmVydGEuY2E%3d&recipientid=contact-fb04ede4f1d1e6118105480fcfeaa931-438fc0c8982f44c58fe134313a1fb287&esid=6d9cfaea-3e42-e811-813d-480fcfeab9c1

Teaching Tuesday: Dr. Bruce Perry, The Human Brain

A brief introduction to core concepts regarding brain structure and function that provide the basis for developmentally sensitive and trauma-informed caregiving, education and therapy.

Produced by The ChildTrauma Academy & Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.

How dad’s pre-conception health can affect the baby, too

Pregnant woman

By Jacqueline Howard,

(CNN) Many moms-to-be know that their health even before they become pregnant — known as pre-conception health — can affect the health of their babies.

Now, research is continuing to show that the pre-conception health of fathers also can influence a pregnancy and the baby.
Three papers published Monday in the journal The Lancet detail how the health of both women and men, before they even conceive a child, can have profound impacts on the health of their offspring — such as birth weight and brain development.
“This is a really important series, and it is important because it helps further re-establish the importance of pre-conception care as a legitimate direction for improving birth outcomes and improving health in children, both at the time of birth but also over their life course,” said Milton Kotelchuck, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a senior scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who was not involved in the new papers.
“Really, almost all of the important epigenetics, all the important embryologic development, takes place in the first few weeks of the pregnancy. That’s when lots of the really key things are happening before people even know they’re pregnant,” he said. “Your brain development, your entire spine, all the nerves are developed in the first couple of weeks.”

When is ‘pre-conception’?

The first of the three papers turns a spotlight on when the pre-conception period begins and ends and how it’s a time when many parents might not even realize that their health can influence their baby’s.
“Certainly, the last three to six months before you attempt to conceive really need to be focused on improving or making sure you maintain quality health,” said Dr. Haywood Brown, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Duke University School of Medicine and president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who was not involved in the new papers.
The first paper calls for the pre-conception period to be redefined according to three perspectives: biological, individual and public health.
Based on the biological perspective, the pre-conception period would be defined as the days to weeks before an embryo develops, but from the individual perspective, the pre-conception period would begin as soon as a couple has a conscious intention to conceive, typically weeks to months before pregnancy occurs, according to the paper.
Based on the public perspective, the pre-conception period would encompass the months or years it takes to address pre-conception risk factors related to diet, lifestyle and chronic diseases such as obesity or diabetes, according to the paper.
For example, “men who are obese have a higher chance of having decreased sperm count,” Brown said.
In women, “obesity is a risk factor for congenital birth defects. It’s associated with congenital heart defects. … Obesity also increases risk for things like developing preeclampsia and developing diabetes, and so in that sense, they affect the health of the baby,” he said. “We also know that people who are extremely underweight also have a higher risk of babies being small, and so there’s an extreme on both ends.”

Vancouver women recount different paths to sobriety


Karen has been sober for about two years, and credits her new life to a 12-step program. Photograph By DAN TOULGOET

John Kurucz / Vancouver Courier

Ang’s crutch was schmoozing.

As someone who works in the entertainment and hospitality industries, she’s done a lot of it.

Those situations almost always included a glass of wine. The glass soon became a bottle, and over time the visual evidence of where her life was going quite literally started to pile up.

“I’m a smart person,” Ang told the Courier. “As I would see the bottles pile up over the course of the week, I said to myself, ‘This is probably a little over the top.’ Slowly over time it became somewhat more of a crutch, where I found I was drinking every night.”

Karen, on the other hand, traces her relationship with alcohol back 25 years. She had just started high school and stopped playing organized sports.

The bottle replaced the ball, the team and the camaraderie.

“That’s when everything shifted for me,” she said.

Karen and Ang both spoke to the Courier on the condition of anonymity. April is Alcohol Awareness Month and both women are at different places in their paths to sobriety.

They’re linked, however, by disturbing stats that suggest alcoholism is on the rise for women in particular. Numbers published in March by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) suggest women with drinking problems were less likely than men to receive advice (11.7 per cent compared to 19.3 per cent).

The Canadian Cancer Society notes that one drink per day increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by up to 13 per cent. Stats Canada suggests binge drinking among women is on the rise, almost on a yearly basis.

Although they’ve taken different paths to do so, Ang and Karen are resolute in their efforts to not be a statistic.

“There’s this weird saddle that is put on women,” said Karen, 38. “You’re going to be a mother, you’re going to be taking care of babies, but you’re not going to be the breadwinner. Instead, you’re faced with pressure, isolation and you’re going to have this mom culture thing around you. There are a lot of women drinking by themselves at home.”

Click to read full article http://www.vancourier.com/news/vancouver-women-recount-different-paths-to-sobriety-1.23266927

Alcohol and your body

Alcohol and your body

Everyone can benefit from understanding that alcohol is not like any other drink: it’s absorbed differently, it’s eliminated differently, and it affects us differently.

The following will help you better understand what happens to our bodies when we drink.

Effects of alcohol on your body

How does it all work?

  1. Alcohol enters your blood through your stomach and intestines
  2. Once absorbed, it is carried to other parts of the body very quickly
  3. Though it might not feel this way, it reaches your brain almost as soon
    as you take a drink
  4. Alcohol stays in your body until your hard-working liver breaks it down

To reduce long-term health risks, follow
Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking GuidelinesYour brain controls your body so alcohol has a big effect on the way you behave. Simply, the more alcohol in your blood, the more effects it will have. Things like: judgment, inhibitions, reaction time, coordination, vision, speech, balance can be impacted by alcohol consumption.

  • No more than 10 drinks a week for women, with no more than 2 drinks a day most days and 3 for special occasions
  • No more than 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days and 4 for special occasions
  • Not drinking on some days each week

Drinking above these limits results in increasing risk. Other ways to improve and maintain heart health include regular exercise, and by following Canada’s Food Guide and not smoking.

For Women
Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guide for Women

For Men
Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guide for Men

Alcohol Dependence

Regular drinking can lead to tolerance (a need for more alcohol to achieve the same effect) and to habit formation. These can lead to alcohol dependence (a condition where alcohol takes a dominant role in one’s life).

What about my personality?

Every beer advertisement makes it seem like alcohol is the key to feeling great. The truth is that it really depends on you and how you’re feeling that day. Maybe you’re the life of the party one night and the drunk crier the next.

If you’re worried about being the “ex texter” or the “frequent fighter” it’s best just to slow down and grab a water. You and your supportive pals will be glad you did.

It might make you chubby (no, seriously)

If you’re trying to lose weight, booze can be a big bummer. A single glass of wine or beer can add major calories to your diet and none of them are good calories. Wine, beer and mixed drinks are all filled with sugar, sugar and more sugar.

One bottle of wine has an average of 750 calories (that’s like having a cheeseburger, fries and a drink), a six-pack of beer averages 900 calories (or a large movie theatre popcorn without the butter).

Concerned about your drinking?

Drinking an extra glass of wine ‘will shorten your life by 30 minutes’


Drinking will shorten your life, according to a study that suggests every glass of wine or pint of beer over the daily recommended limit will cut half an hour from the expected lifespan of a 40-year-old.

Those who think a glass of red wine every evening will help keep the heart healthy will be dismayed. The paper, published in the Lancet medical journal, says five standard 175ml glasses of wine or five pints a week is the upper safe limit – about 100g of alcohol, or 12.5 units in total. More than that raises the risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm (a ruptured artery in the chest), heart failure and death.

The risks for a 40-year-old of drinking over the recommended daily limit were comparable to smoking, said one leading scientist. “Above two units a day, the death rates steadily climb,” said David Spiegelhalter, Winton professor for the public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge.

“The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking four units a day above the guidelines [the equivalent of drinking three glasses of wine in a night] has roughly two years’ lower life expectancy, which is around a 20th of their remaining life. This works out at about an hour per day. So it’s as if each unit above guidelines is taking, on average, about 15 minutes of life, about the same as a cigarette.

“Of course, it’s up to individuals whether they think this is worthwhile.”

There is still a small benefit to drinking, which has been much flagged in the past. It does reduce the chance of a non-fatal heart attack. But, said Dr Angela Wood, from the University of Cambridge, lead author of the study, “this must be balanced against the higher risk associated with other serious – and potentially fatal – cardiovascular diseases.”

The big international study supports the new UK recommended limits of a maximum of 14 units a week for both men and women, which were fiercely contested when introduced by England’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, in 2016. Other countries with higher limits should reduce them, it suggests. They include Italy, Portugal and Spain as well as the US, where for men the recommended limit is almost double.

The study included data from nearly 600,000 current drinkers included in 83 studies carried out in 19 countries. About half the participants reported drinking more than 100g per week, and 8.4% drank more than 350g per week. Early deaths rose when more than 100g per week, which is five to six glasses of wine or pints of beer, was consumed.

Click to read full article https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/apr/12/one-extra-glass-of-wine-will-shorten-your-life-by-30-minutes?CMP=share_btn_tw

Raise your Mocktails for Dry9 and Best Bar None


One of the many ways bars provide responsible liquor service – and also great options for guests – is to provide non-alcoholic drink options (mocktails) on their menus.

Many bars have discovered that offering innovative, creative and tasty mocktails provides an option for many people who do not (or choose not to) drink alcohol.

Whether you’re the designated driver, expecting a tiny person or just don’t enjoy drinking a fun alternative is mocktails. Speaking of moms-to-be, have you heard of the Dry9 campaign?

Dry9 is a new initiative through AGLC’s DrinkSense program providing support and encouragement for those choosing to make the healthy and safe decision to not drink any alcohol during pregnancy.

One of the many ways to provide encouragement (and some great non-alcoholic drink ideas) is through the recently-launched Dry9  Mocktail Contest. Albertans have been asked to submit their favourite non-alcoholic drink recipes to add to our DrinkSense website along with some classic recipes already posted.

The contest is open for submissions until April 30, 2018.

We asked a few of the Best Bar None accredited bars to share some of their favourite mocktails to see what the professionals are mixing.

Check out these tasty recipes mixed by the professionals at two of our BBN-accredited partners.

Berry Citrus Smash
Courtesy of The Den at the University of Calgary



  • Muddle mixed berries (raspberry, blueberry, strawberry
  • Add ice
  • Top with Orange Cream Soda

The Ginger Ale
Courtesy of Cartago Yeg



  • Ginger Bergamont Syrup
  • Lime
  • Angostura Bitters
  • Soda

Retrieved from https://bestbarnone.drinksenseab.ca/raise-your-mocktails-for-dry9/

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