Yukon pilots pregnancy test dispensers to prevent FASD

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The Yukon has joined an Alaskan research project to determine if pregnancy test dispensers in women’s washrooms are an effective prevention tool against fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Two dispensers have been installed, one at Yukon College and the Dirty Northern Public House, as part of a project led by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon.

A pregnancy test costs two loonies, and signs on the dispenser encourage women to be sure they’re not pregnant before they drink.

“Remember the last time you had sex?” is written in bold across the top.

The graphic shows a silhouette of a woman drinking a beer, the liquid pouring directly to a developing fetus in her uterus.

“Were you drinking? Did you use birth control?”

The sign also included information about the permanent brain damage that can be caused to a fetus through alcohol consumption.

It ends with the line, “Take a pregnancy test before you drink tonight.”

Posters with similar messaging have been placed at the Gr8tful Spud (located in the River View Hotel) and the Jarvis Street Saloon.

Dispensers and posters will also be installed at various locations in Dawson City.

The research project will compare the effectiveness of the dispensers versus the posters at delivering the preventative message.

A Quick Response Code on the dispensers and posters allows someone to access a survey from their smart phone. The survey is designed to measure how well the message has been understood.

A follow up survey will be sent to each respondent in six months, designed in part to measure their retention of the information.

For each completed survey a respondent will be sent a $15 iTunes card.

Several places across Canada and the U.S. have tried using pregnancy test dispensers as an FASD prevention tool, but this is the first time the theory is being tested, said Wenda Bradley, executive director of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon.

“That’s why it’s so exciting to be belonging to the research in Alaska, because this will be the first research done on this kind of idea.”

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