Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Bluegrass Prevention Center: Kentucky Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention Enhancement Site

In 2007, Kentucky’s Division of Substance Abuse funded the Bluegrass Regional Prevention Center to manage a statewide Prevention Enhancement Site on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)—brain dysfunction caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. Since then, Bluegrass has created a Statewide FASD Training Network comprising 486 professionals and community members who serve as trainers and local contacts about FASD issues. In addition, Bluegrass facilitates prevention and awareness activities with groups that include physicians, high school students and the general community.

Several factors make FASD a difficult subject for communities to address, including a lack of specific data on the prevalence of FASD, a lack of accurate information on the long-term consequences of alcohol use during pregnancy, and the stigma attached to women’s substance abuse issues.

In addition, many Kentucky women continue to report being told by their doctor that “a little bit” of alcohol while pregnant is acceptable. In a 2008 survey of Kentucky OB/GYN providers, 33% reported that they do believe there is a safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. Public health messaging and community awareness campaigns do not carry as much weight as a woman’s medical provider. For this reason, OB/GYN providers are the target of Bluegrass’ current FASD prevention initiative.

With funding from SAMHSA’s Service to Science Subcontract to Build Evaluation Capacity of Evidence-based Interventions, Bluegrass will hire an evaluator to conduct a 12-month follow-up survey of Kentucky OB/GYNs exposed to the campaign, as well as analyze data collected from OB/GYNs in previous rounds; use incentives for OB/GYNs to complete the follow-up survey; and purchase statistical software for analyses. Additionally, the hired evaluator will work with Bluegrass staff to develop a five-year strategic plan for ongoing evaluation of Bluegrass Prevention Center’s FASD prevention efforts.



Donna Wiesenhahn
Regional Prevention Director
Bluegrass Prevention Center
P.O. Box 13670
Lexington, Kentucky 40583
Phone: (859) 225-3296

Laura Nagle
FASD PES Coordinator
Bluegrass Prevention Center
401 Gibson Lane
Richmond, Kentucky 40475
Phone: (859) 624-3622 x732