The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) was formed in 1990 to
address the continuing existence of FASD occurring in society. This non-profit, international
organization was founded by advocates seeking to help create a “global community free of
alcohol-exposed pregnancies and a society supportive of individuals already living with FASD.”
NOFAS’s motto: “Alcohol and Pregnancy. No safe amount. No safe time. No safe alcohol.
Period.” demonstrates the organization’s stance on the consumption of alcohol. While some
organizations may claim that a glass of wine at dinner during pregnancy is acceptable, NOFAS
endorses that any amount of alcohol poses a substantial risk because the alcohol passes from the
mother to the developing baby.
The organization’s underlying methodology is based on three basic premises. First, the
organization promulgates that FASD is a national health crisis, as it affects nearly 100,000
newborns in the United States alone. Secondly, the organization believes that society does not
understand the magnitude of FASD due to the myths and misconceptions about the risk of
alcohol use during pregnancy that remain in today’s society. Thirdly, NOFAS believes that in
order for there to be a significant change in society, the stigma involving shaming and punishing
mothers for consuming alcohol during pregnancy must be eliminated. Instead, the stigma must
be replaced with the understanding that alcohol dependence is a chronic, progressive disease for
which appropriate treatment must be sought.
NOFAS hopes to accomplish its mission through achieving twelve objectives, described
by the organization as “prevent, educate, support, advocate, communicate, associate, fundraise,
evaluate, overcome, lead, respect, and inspire.” To attain its goal of prevention, NOFAS seeks to
reduce the incidence of FASD by implementing national, statewide, and community-based
prevention campaigns. The organization also wishes to accomplish this goal by implementing
alcohol screenings, intervention practices, and other prevention strategies into clinical practice at
health care delivery sites.
NOFAS also seeks to increase public awareness regarding the significant risk and
potential harm of prenatal alcohol exposure through education. NOFAS hopes to educate the
public, practitioners, and policymakers about the risk of alcohol use during pregnancy and the
resulting consequences. To achieve these goals, NOFAS promotes its message to the public
through traditional, social, and entertainment media by disseminating news, information, and
resources regarding FASD. Additionally, NOFAS seeks to implement the organization’s
curricula by presenting practicums and providing informational trainings on FASD and best
approaches for addressing the disorder for doctors, mental health service providers, and other
public health professionals.
Commingled with the organization’s goal of education is NOFAS’s goal to advocate for
those individuals affected by FASD. The organization has a network of 40 affiliates around the
United States and works in collaboration with several U.S. governmental agencies. In partnering
with various organizations, NOFAS hopes to cultivate relationships with federal, state, and local
decision makers and policymakers in an effort to maintain NOFAS’s legislative and nonlegislative policy agenda. NOFAS has even been successful in forming a Congressional Caucus
focused on FASD. By reporting to the various constituents of the Caucus, NOFAS endeavors to
advance FASD-related policies and legislation by promoting common legislative objectives.