DIEPPE (GNB) – The government has earmarked $800,000 to increase capacity at the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Centre of Excellence in Dieppe.

The centre was created in 2012 to provide prevention, diagnosis and intervention services.

“Living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can be challenging,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “Those living with it may require multiple lifelong services and supports. Addressing the needs and challenges children face during the earlier stages of their lives is essential to setting them up for success as they move into adulthood.”

The funding will support the centre in providing increased access and diagnostic capacity. It will also help the centre address concerns about increased alcohol consumption among women of child-bearing age during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the resulting mental health-care demands.

“This is excellent news that aligns perfectly with one of the priorities of our 2020-2023 strategic plan, which aims to improve the health and well-being of the population,” said Dr. France Desrosiers, president and CEO of Vitalité Health Network. “The additional funds announced today for the centre of excellence will allow us to increase services and support more people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. I thank the Department of Health for its support as one of the network’s partners, as we work on our goal of continuously improving health care in New Brunswick.”

This investment aligns with the government’s addiction and mental health action plan, which was released in February 2021. The action plan aims to improve the health of the general population, improve access to services, intervene earlier, and match people to the appropriate care.