‘FASD is the ‘new face of Nunavut (and Manitoba)’

“A young Iqaluit man suffering from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or FASD, will spend three years at a secure residential treatment centre outside Nunavut for committing two robberies in Iqaluit in Feb. 2015.

“That’s from a written decision that Nunavut Justice Neil Sharkey issued Jan. 6, following a hearing held this past Nov. 10…

“And Sharkey agreed with defence lawyer Steven Foulds that FASD is the

“new face of Nunavut.” 

“The defence bluntly and, I think, accurately states that Pauloosie is just one of many more like him”, Sharkey said.

“FASD is the clinical term for a range of permanent mental and physical disabilities suffered by those who were exposed to alcohol inside their mothers’ wombs. 

“The most common symptoms of FASD include a permanently-damaged brain and nervous system, leading to mental retardation, poor impulse control and various mental health problems.

“The condition occurs in Nunavut with a frequency “matched only by the lack of services in Nunavut for those affected by the disease”, Sharkey said.

“While FASD is not an excuse to commit crimes, those suffering from FASD have trouble controlling impulsive behaviour and often cannot fully appreciate the consequences of their actions, Sharkey said.

“He said that Ipeelee has been a “child of the street” all his life and that when he was very young, his alcoholic mother would blow marijuana smoke into his lungs.

“The mother abandoned the boy when he was five, and his mother’s male partner was not a father figure.

“To the contrary, as a young boy, Pauloosie’s only thoughts about this man were to wish that the fellow was dead”, Sharkey said.

“But Sharkey also agreed with Crown lawyer Doug Garson, who argued that increasing robberies across Nunavut, particularly in Iqaluit, have left citizens feeling unsafe.

“[Crown counsel] described this phenomenon poignantly and accurately as ‘a terrifying coming of age in Iqaluit’”, Sharkey wrote.

“Sentences for robbery must deter others from committing the same crime, the Crown argued.

“Ipeelee committed the two robberies within a week of each other — and he pleaded guilty to both counts of robbery.

“Sharkey wrote that on Feb. 10, 2015, Ipeelee sat in a getaway car outside an Iqaluit coffee shop with the mastermind of the robbery, known as “Mr. X”, while a 16-year-old accomplice held up the coffee shop with a knife.

“A woman working inside the coffee shop, who was part of the plan, had sent a text message to ‘Mr. X’ that told him the manager had stepped out to do errands

“Mr. X, an acquaintance of Ipeelee, made off with the $1,000 that the 16-year-old took from the coffee shop.

“At the time of the robbery, Ipeelee was sleeping on Mr. X’s couch and “mooching food and dope from various acquaintances”, Sharkey wrote.

“But Mr. X did not share any of the $1,000 with Ipeelee.

“A week later, on Feb. 17, 2015, Ipeelee lived “from house to house, and among the same group of people involved in the earlier robbery”, the judge wrote.

“Desperate for both food and grass, Pauloosie decided to pull off a robbery on his own.”

“This time, Ipeelee entered a retail store, unarmed, covered his face and told the clerk, ‘give me your fuckin’ money or I’ll hurt you’.

“Ipeelee left the store with $1,300, Sharkey said.

“But one of the store managers recognized Ipeelee and when police arrested him the next day, Ipeelee admitted to the two robberies.

“Ipeelee clearly knew what he was doing when he concealed his face before robbing the store, Sharkey wrote.


“the difficulty in controlling impulsive behaviour and the difficulty in appreciating the consequences of such behaviour are often predominant hallmarks of FASD”, he said.

“In extensive sentencing submissions from the defence , Sharkey heard that the Government of Nunavut’s health department “dropped the ball” when they failed to enact a follow-up care plan devised for Ipeelee upon his 2014 return from a youth treatment centre in Saskatchewan.

“Medical experts testified Ipeelee’s FASD is towards the “higher-end of the scale”, and that his criminal behaviour is directly linked to his condition.

“Medical experts also told Sharkey that Ipeelee’s chance of repeat offending is low, if Ipeelee’s impulses are managed “with the right therapeutic approach and with community follow-up support”.

“The health department had such a plan for Ipeelee but failed to follow through with it, Sharkey heard.

“But an adult services specialist with the GN’s family services department, Susan Beddam, told Sharkey she is quite confident her division “is both equipped and willing to provide such follow-up upon Pauloosie’s discharge from the southern treatment facility.”

–‘Young Nunavut man, damaged by FASD, sentenced to residential treatment’,
THOMAS ROHNER, Nunatsiaq News, January 07, 2016


https://www.scribd.com/doc/294837825/2015-NUCJ-38-R-v-Ipeelee Nunavut-map‘Inquiry needed into fetal alcohol syndrome’

“A deadly serious but almost invisible problem affects thousands of children in Manitoba and across the country. This problem is entirely preventable; yet, we are afraid to take serious action to deal with it. This problem is one we should know more about; yet we are afraid to properly research it.

“This problem demands a national inquiry. Yet, we would rather not have to think about it.

“The problem? Children are born with malformed brains as a result of exposure to alcohol in the womb — ‘fetal alcohol syndrome’, or FAS.

“FAS symptoms can include both physical and mental problems. In some cases there are serious heart defects, children who cannot walk or talk, or even children who cannot eat and require tube-feeding. Usually, however, children are physically normal, but cognitively impaired.

“Typically, they lack impulse control and the ability to learn from experience and will be highly susceptible to peer pressure. They often have great difficulties at school. As they grow older they frequently become involved with the law. They are filling our youth detention centres and jails. Some work very hard to succeed, but most live difficult lives that too often end early.

“How many of these children and adults are there in Manitoba? Of the 10,000 children in care in Manitoba, senior child-welfare officials report about half have “developmental or addiction issues”. That is politically correct code for children with FAS.

“Research on the extent of the problem is surprisingly limited, but some studies on northern Manitoba reserves find that fetal-alcohol problems there appear to be rampant. On one reserve, teachers reported half the children did not seem to be capable of learning. Testing revealed at least one in four children on that reserve was a fetal-alcohol victim. So, we are probably talking about many thousands, or tens of thousands, nationally.

“To make matters worse, mothers with FAS are now giving birth to babies with FAS. Although there is no genetic link, a pregnant woman with FAS often lacks the ability to refrain from alcohol. So, in some rural communities and depressed urban pockets there are now grandparents, parents, and now children — all with FAS.

“Many dedicated people working with fetal-alcohol children and adults are trying to raise awareness of this issue among young women who are at risk. Poster campaigns and educational programs are offered by medical people, social workers, teachers and volunteers. However, their efforts do not appear to have stemmed the depressingly steady flow of fetal-alcohol births.

“We need a more aggressive approach in cases where education fails to stop a pregnant woman from endangering her unborn child by reckless drinking and drug consumption. If we saw a parent beating a child to the point of causing brain injury, we would charge, prosecute and jail that person. We would also expect the child-welfare system to step in if those parents had more children.

“Yet we balk at pursuing aggressively parents drinking to excess, obviously endangering their unborn child.

“What about authorizing a child-care agency to detain for treatment a pregnant woman who refuses to control her addictions while pregnant? A Manitoba child-care agency tried to do exactly that. The Supreme Court did not allow it and left the woman’s future children to their fate in the 1998 case of D.F.G. In dissenting, Justice John Major said if a woman decides to continue a pregnancy, she must take reasonable steps to prevent her child from being born with brain damage. Maybe it is time for another detention-for-treatment test case to see if a majority would agree with his common-sense dissent.

“Although fetal-alcohol cases are found in all races and population groups, most of the FAS cases we see in Canada are indigenous children and adults. Is it possible there is some genetic predisposition at play? Again, there is very little research on this point, and nothing recent.

“I suspect researchers are hesitant to deal with an issue that will provoke accusations of “racism” or “eugenics research.” But it would be tragic if there were a genetic predisposition and we failed to look for it out of fear of being called names.

“Some conditions and diseases hit certain groups particularly hard. It is generally accepted that people from a hunter-gatherer background, such as Polynesians or North American indigenous people, are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. This finding was made after careful research that aboriginal leaders welcomed. Now we have prevention strategies specific to indigenous people. Maybe the same is true of fetal alcohol syndrome. Maybe not. The point is we should know.

“And what about an inquiry into this vexing problem? The best minds could be brought in to investigate the extent of the problem and to devise strategies to deal with it. There is going to be an inquiry into the issue of missing women. The fetal-alcohol issue is every bit as important and the problem is seen across Canada. It is more severe in the far north. Aboriginal leaders, who have been so vocal on the missing-women issue, should be just as vocal on a matter that affects so many indigenous lives. They should demand an FAS inquiry.

“Every fetal-alcohol birth results in costs of millions of dollars over the course of that child’s life. Health care, child welfare, special education and corrections costs are a huge drain on the public purse.

“More tragically, each fetal-alcohol baby means another child born with a life sentence for a condition that is completely preventable.”

–‘Inquiry needed into fetal alcohol syndrome’,
Brian Giesbrecht, Winnipeg Free Press, 12/19/2015
(Brian Giesbrecht was a provincial court judge from 1976 until 2007. He is now retired.)

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/inquiry-needed-into-fetal-alcohol-syndrome-363019051.html fetal-alcohol-syndromeCOMMENT: “The only inquiry we really need is an inquiry into why we need so many inquiries when we already know the facts and reasons.”
“This has the potential to make so much more of an impact than the MMIW inquiry.”
“Sadly, when human rights were enshrined in the constitution, human responsibilities did not go along with it. Everyone wants rights, but not the responsibilities that go hand in hand.”
“Inquiry? What? We already know what causes FASD. Perhaps they should put birth control into the alcohol so that there would be no pregnancies after too much drinking. I agree we need an Inquiry to determine why we need so many Inquiries when, in this case, the cause is obvious!”
“It probably doesn’t help that so called harm reduction practices are taught telling the alcoholic pregnant woman apparent safe times to drink during pregnancy.”
“We don’t need an inquiry, we need to stop alcohol abuse. Not just for pregnant women, either. Unfortunately, much of the damage is done during the second half of the first trimester. By the time any intervention was done, it would be too late. Besides that, mothers-to-be might be more likely to avoid medical care if they thought they might wind up incarcerated.”
“Maybe we need an inquiry into why the governments needs over 50% of my earnings through a variety of taxes to run this country… Oh yeah — they need the money for more inquiries…”
“Rampant FASD is just one of the many effects of grossly under-funding addiction treatment in society. Studies have shown that every $1 spent on addiction treatment returns on average $9 to society (through reduced health, criminal, and social expenses, as well as improved productivity). Yet our government continues to offer under-funded, ramshackle, poorly-organized addiction treatment options —
‘Want help for your addiction? Here’s an appointment for 5 weeks from now. Try to come out of your fog long enough to show up.’
“How’s that been working for people?” STOP Fetal Alcohol Syndrome“Here is the aboriginal inquiry Canada should be conducting: WHY is Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) such a big problem in Canada’s native population? Is it time to start prosecuting for deliberately injuring the unborn? What about authorizing a child-care agency to detain for treatment a pregnant woman who refuses to control her addictions while pregnant?

“A Manitoba child-care agency tried to do exactly that. The Supreme Court did not allow it and left the woman’s future children to their fate in the 1998 case of ‘D.F.G.’ In dissenting, Justice John Major said if a woman decides to continue a pregnancy, she must take reasonable steps to prevent her child from being born with brain damage. Maybe it is time for another detention-for-treatment test case to see if a majority would agree with his common-sense dissent.

“Although fetal-alcohol cases are found in all races and population groups, most of the FAS cases we see in Canada are indigenous children and adults. Is it possible there is some genetic predisposition at play? Again, there is very little research on this point, and nothing recent.”
–Leonard Biblitz

“Alcohol-related deaths among ‘First Nation’s in B.C. are a staggering five times higher than for other British Columbians, says a prominent ‘First Nations’ doctor, who argues aboriginal leaders need to start working on an alcohol strategy to save lives.

“Dr. Evan Adams, aboriginal health physician adviser in the office of the Provincial Health Officer, believes ‘First Nations’ need to get over their discomfort in talking about alcohol misuse.

“It’s hard to bring it up in a safe way without sounding as if you are (buying in) to stereotypes”, Adams said. “It has to be initiated by us – as ‘First Nations’ – and it needs to happen at every level.”

“An alcohol strategy would look at availability of alcohol on reserves, the cost of buying booze and whether it should be increased, education around alcohol misuse and abuse, dangers of binge drinking and the possibility of more reserves banning alcohol.

“Under the ‘Indian Act’, chief and council, with a majority of voting band members, can pass bylaws prohibiting the possession and sale of intoxicants and prohibit anyone on a reserve from being intoxicated.

“In B.C., 17 bands out of 203 have an intoxicant bylaw…”

‘First Nations’ must find ways to curb alcohol use: MD’,

“How come native Americans and aboriginals are in general more likely to get hooked on booze? It’s all because their bodies usually break down ethanol into water and acid way slower than the other races. Let’s first describe this process.

“When you drink alcoholic drinks, the ethanol is metabolized (transformed) into something called acetaldehyde. This is done by an enzyme in your body called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). So the more ADH your body produces, the faster the process. Apparently, a lot of Native Americans miss out on this enzyme (according to analysis on chromosome 4 and 11) and that increases the risk of becoming alcoholic.

“…Further explanation can be found in the book ‘Casarett & Doull’s Toxicology: The basic Science of Poison’ by Curtis D. Klaassen…


“…A common assumption why Native Americans lack a sufficient amount of ADH is that they weren’t exposed to alcohol until the Europeans introduced it…

“At least for the Indians in America, this “alcohol evolution theory” seems off target. The Mayas drank a corn drink called’ atole’ and ‘balché’, which is made with honey; Aztecs had ‘pulque’, extracted from the agave plant; and Incas also had their corn drink: ‘chicha’ — All way before any European ever set foot on their continent…”


“…there is no scientific evidence that supports a genetic predisposition for alcohol intolerance in the aboriginal population, said Dr. Joel Kettner, an associate professor at the University of Manitoba’s faculty of medicine and the province’s former chief public health officer…

“There are many ‘indigenous’ populations around the world that have been colonized and oppressed by ‘settlers’ where we have seen the same patterns of poverty, of poor housing, disenfranchisement”, he added.

“There is increasing evidence that these are the factors that lead to poor individual health, poor social health, poor community health, and these are what we need to focus our attention on.”

“CBC News has heard from readers who suggested that aboriginal people are missing an enzyme or are genetically predisposed to addiction.

“There will always be theories and research that will try and explain some of this in the way of genetics, as was the case in Germany in the ’30s and the case in the U.S. comparing Negro brains and white brains,” 

Kettner said in an interview Friday… {Now, that’s an almost hysterical comparison. Surely there’s just a piece of research that you could cite…}

“For Kettner, the persistence of the genetic stereotype is evidence that there is still much work to do in combating racism…

“I know it might sound facetious, but maybe we should be doing genetic analysis on people who continue to perpetuate stereotypical and ‘racist myths’.”

–‘Aboriginal people and alcohol: Not a genetic predisposition’,
CBC News, May 30, 2014

“Race and metabolism, for example, were the focus of a number of studies during the 1970s. The most well known of these was a study by Fenna and colleagues in 1971. In this study, Inuit and Indian hospital patients from two Edmonton hospitals and in the community of Inuvik, NWT, were compared to Euro-Canadian volunteers.

“To examine the rate of metabolism of alcohol, rates of sobering up were compared between aboriginal and ‘non-aboriginal’ participants. Alcohol was administered intravenously to each participant and blood alcohol levels were measured by breathalyzer.

“Fenna and colleagues found that Inuit and Indian patients had slower rates of disappearance of blood alcohol (1971). This differential response persisted even after stratifying for individual patient histories of typical alcohol consumption (categorized as light, moderate and heavy drinkers)…”

http://www.ahf.ca/downloads/fetal-alcohol-syndrome.pdf FASDbrains“Suspected teratogenic effects of alcohol date back to biblical times. In
the Bible, ‘Judges 13:34’, there is a warning that states

“…you will soon be pregnant and have a son. Take care not to drink any wine or beer.”


“According to some Navajo elders

“…if a woman about to bear a child drinks crazy water, the newborn will be crazy in the body and the mind.” (“The Navajo Tribe” in Streissguth el al, 1988)

“Affected adolescents and adults do not outgrow these behavioural
problems. In fact, adult patients have been said to have maladaptive behaviours which make them unsuitable for traditional job training programs (Streissguth et al, 1991 ). Attentional deficits, poor concentration, cornprehension and judgement problems persist throughout adulthood. As well, problems with conduct become an issue, such as lying, defiance, and lack of consideration for others (Streissguth et al, 1991 )…

“Mental retardation has ben cited as one of the most çommon and serious effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on the developing fetus (Clarren
and Smith, 1978). The more phenotypicaliy severe patients were the ones who also had the lower IQs, suggesting that the lower intelligence is an effect of the alcohol exposure and not due to the postnatal environment of the child (Streissguth et al, 1978). Even in adulthood, lower intelligence persists.

follow-up study of FAS-FAE patients by Streissguth et al (1991 ) noted the mean group IQ to be 68, which just falls into the mentally retarded range of IQ scores, with scores ranging from 20 (severely retarded) to 105 (normal)… Other longterm studies have illustrated the persistence of lower intelligence in affected adults (Spohr et al, 1993)…

“It has been suggested that alcohol may induce growth deficiency in the
fetus by depletion of nutritional requirements for normal growth (Michaelis and Michaelis, 1994). Ethanol has been implicated in directly inhibiting the transportation of glucose and amino acids across the placenta to the fetus. This robs the fetal tissues of the energy and materials required for cell division, growth and differentiation, thus contributing to the smaller stature associated with prenatal alcohol exposure (Michaelis and Michaelis, 1994).

“Ethanol can also act as a vasoconstrictor. By increasing the umbilical artery resistance, it decreases the amount of oxygen that the fetus is receiving, and thus can also interfere with proper cell proliferation Ieading to intrauterine growth retardation (Penaud, 1 990; Michaelis and Michaelis, 1994)…

“An unpublished report by Asante et al (1985) determined the prevalence
of FAS in 36 communities in the Yukon and Northwest British Columbia… The reported estimates of FAS/FAE prevalence in these populations were: 46 affected per 1000 Native children in the Yukon, and 25 affected per 1000 Native children in NorthWest British Columbia, as compared to the prevalence rate of 0.4 affected per 1000 ‘non-Native’ children in both regions (Asante et al, 1985)…”

See also:
‘Inquiry Warned of ‘Indigenous’ Jail Wave (Australia)’



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