Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: May 20, 2008
Sen. Charlie Laster
Senate Approves Measure
to Prevent Drug/Alcohol Use by Pregnant Women
The full Senate has given final approval to a measure requiring
all prenatal classes to provide educational materials to expectant
mothers about the dangers of alcohol and drug use during pregnancy.
Laster is the Senate author of House Bill 2705, authored by
Rep. Kris Steele in the House of Representatives.
“Alcohol use by pregnant women is the number one preventable
cause of mental retardation and birth defects in our country,”
said Laster, D-Shawnee. “In Oklahoma, 250 babies are born
every year with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and another 1,000 have Fetal
Alcohol Effects. We need to do a better job of warning women that
no level of alcohol or drugs is safe for their unborn babies. That’s
what this legislation will do.”
Laster said the lifetime institutional and medical costs for one
person with FAS are at least $2 million. The lifetime cost of care
for the 1,250 babies born each year in Oklahoma with problems as
a result of the mother’s use of alcohol are estimated to be
up to $2 billion.
His legislation would require all prenatal classes to teach pregnant
women about the risks of drug or alcohol use during pregnancy and
provide information on screening, assessment, intervention and referral
for treatment of substance dependency.
“The good news is that all of these materials are already
available for free by the federal government, so these prenatal
programs won’t be facing any financial burden,” Laster
said. “But more importantly, I believe we can prevent needless
birth defects and developmental disabilities that can keep these
children from leading independent and protective lives once they
HB 2705 now goes to Gov. Brad Henry for his signature.
For more information contact:
Sen. Laster's Office: (405) 521-5539