The FARR Resource Library

Over the years FARR have collected a large amount of information and resources that we are able to share with interested parties.  Should you require any furhter information regarding FARR and/or FASD, you are welcome to contact us on: or 021 686 2646

More Information

Globally, FASD is the most common preventable form of mental- and physical disability.  The damage caused to the developing fetus by alcohol exposure during pregnancy, is permanent and irreversible.  The burden of FASD on our society is being ignored despite the fact that it is far-reaching (socially and financially) and completely preventable. It is estimated that in the United States, FASD costs $6 billion (approximately R42 billion) annually and the average cost to treat a person with FASD for life is $1.4 million.  The estimated burden of FASD in South Africa has not as yet been calculated, but is being investigated. The full impact of FASD in South Africa is immeasurable when it is estimated that at least 28% in specific communities may have FASD (according to research undertaken by FARR). Being affected with FASD has far reaching and costly implications for the individual and the family, community and country.  The diagnostic costs and the management of the primary disabilities are immense. If undetected and untreated many individuals with FASD present with secondary disabilities such as mental- and other health problems, substance and other forms of abuse, consequences of risky behavior and conflict with the law. It is therefore extremely difficult to calculate the cost of this condition which is already affecting thousands of South-Africans.  In the light of this, it is apparent that all efforts should be put in place to raise awareness about the harmful effects of alcohol use during pregnancy and need to prevent children from being born with FASD.

When a pregnant mother consumes alcohol, so too does her unborn baby.  Alcohol consumed by a pregnant woman, is carried via her blood circulation system, through the placental tissue that separates the mother and baby’s blood systems, delivering the alcohol directly to the developing tissues of the fetus. Alcohol is especially devastating to the brain of the developing fetus, as alcohol easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.

Alcohol can damage the developing fetus throughout the entire pregnancy and the damage caused is not isolated to any particular stage during pregnancy. The severity of FASD depends on the quantity and timing when alcohol is consumed during pregnancy, together with numerous other factors such as: the mothers’ body mass index and overall health, age, food consumption at the time the alcohol was ingested, genetic predisposition, other substances such as smoking, etc.

There is no known risk-free amount of alcohol a pregnant woman can consume without increasing the risk of damage to the developing fetus. All women who consume alcohol while pregnant are at risk of having a baby with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).  Research indicates that even light consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can harm the unborn baby. Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption, especially binge drinking, is associated with a higher risk of having a baby with FASD.

Heavy alcohol consumption is defined as an average of about two standard drinks per day during pregnancy and/or 14 drinks per week.  Binge drinking is defined as at least 5 standard drinks on any occasion.

Of all the substances of abuse, including heroin, cocaine and marijuana, alcohol causes the most serious lifelong neurological and physical damage to a developing fetus.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term, which includes all possible disorders associated with prenatal alcohol exposure.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the most severe form of this disorder and the leading cause of preventable mental disability in the world.

The following features should be present for a diagnosis of FASD (by a trained Specialist medical practitioner, using the standardised scientific assessment tools developed by national and international FASD specialists:

Small head size

Growth retardation before and after birth(height & weight)

Intellectual disability

Specific facial features such as long, smooth, upper lip, small openings of the eye (called palpebral fissures), etc.

Organ anomalies e.g. heart defects

In addition, individuals with FASD may present with a variety of learning, behavioral and psychological symptoms without having any physical abnormalities.

Academic Publications by Prof. Denis Viljoen:

Post Graduate Research in FASD
If you are a university student and you are considering post-graduate research in FASD, please email us at:

Sundry Publications

Refer to list of FARR publications

White papers:
National Drug Master Plan February 1999
An Overview of Health and Health Care in South Africa 1994 2010:

Priorities, Progress and Prospects for New Gains (A discussion document commissioned by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation to help inform the National Health Leaders Retreat, Muldersdrift, January 24-26 2010) HM Government, United Kingdom: Healthy Lives,

Healthy People: Our strategy for public health in England, 30th November 2010

Liquor Acts
South African National Liquor Act (No 59 of 2003)
Western Cape Liquor Act, 59 of 2003

National Human Genetic Guidelines: Contact the Department of National Health (Human Genetics Division) on: 012 312 0000

  • National FASD policy: Contact the Department of National Health (Human Genetics Division) on 012 312 000

FARR training – click here to read more.

2021 FARR Pamphlet
2021 FASD Pamphlet

The following section outlines articles and press releases about FARR and FASD:


WHO Bulletin: Fetal alcohol syndrome: dashed hopes, damaged lives

Press Release FARR FAStrap

BizCommunity: 25000 Babies born with FAS annually in South Africa

Media statement by Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape, on Government substance abuse strategy


Cape Times: Study reveals SA’s ‘crisis’ due to alcohol

Cape Times: Geneticist wins award

City Press: When I…

City Press: The war on drugs

City Press: PE schools remain closed

Die Burger: Kinders met FAS kos die straat

Die Burger: Weskaapse leerlinge drink

Die Burger: Wynbedryf erg onstig

Die Burger: Robertson Wynberf doen meer skade

Die Son: Drank babas dis n krises

Die Tyger Burger: Gedenk FAS dag

Echo: Geen hoeveelheid alkohol

Echo: FARR Open Day

Mail Guardian: It could also happen to you

Netwerk 24: Kinders met FAS kos staat miljoene

The New Age: Pregnant women cautioned 

The New Age: Alcohol abuse by mothers-to-be

News 24: No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy

Northern News: Support Group

The Herald: Heartbreak full classroom

The Herald: Schools become war zones

The Herald: Martins case unlikely to see

Weekend Post: Helenvale gang violence

Weekend Post: Nora Nginza critical condition

Weslander: Hopes positive message remains

Witzenberg Herald: FARR neem die voortou in Phillipstown

IOL Online News: SA’s FAS statistics

IOL Online News: FAS fails to dampen Tisha


Quicket News: The Imhoff Crush

Die Tyger Burger: ADHD screening clinic launched

Die Tyger Burger: Protect your unborn baby

Algoa News: EC to unveil Provincial Drug Master Plan

Die Son: O-Kapenaars is te lief vir drank

Mail and Guardian: Prenatal alcohol exposure impacts brain function

RNews: Provincial drug master plan for the Eastern Cape 

RNews: International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Day

SABC News: Men cautioned over foetal alcohol syndrome

Checkers Website News: Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

News 24: There may soon be a cure for foetal alcohol syndrome

SA Breweries Website News: Protecting the innocent

All Africa Website News: MEC  Albert Fritz Launches Epwp Initiative to combat fetal alcohol syndrome

Cape Times: Partnership trains youth to fight foetal alcohol disorder

Sunday Times: Silence to highlight dangers of drinking while pregnant

Eyewitness News: Western and Eastern Cape record highest number of babies born with FAS disorder

Eyewitness News: SA records highest number of FASD cases in the world

George Herald: Your unborn baby drinks with you

Huffington Post: Fetal alcohol syndrome is a real crises in South Africa

In The Journals: Nearly eight in 1000 infants worldwide born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

PressReader Website News: Prenatal alcohol exposure impacts brain function

The Herald: Call to combat foetal alcohol spectrum disorders

Dorps Koerant: FASD International foetal alcohol spectrum disorder day

Eastern Cape Liqor Board Online News: FASD research and prevention project

Cape Argus: New initiative to tackle foetal alcohol spectrum disorder

Cape Argus: Alcohol is bane to your unborn kids

Psychiatry Advisor Online News: Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders


CTICC join forces with Community Partners,

GEMSBOK 29 Junie FASTRAP in Upington,

Rapport 09 September – Sirkel van armoede as tieners ma word,

Cape Times 07September 2018 – FASD a 20 year journey,

die Burger 11 Des 2018 SA kan nie trots wees op die syfers nie.


Prince Albert Vriend: Geen Alkohol tydens Swangerskap


Prince Albert Vriend: Vetplantjies

Die Son: FASD in die kollig

Die Echo: Community study calls for creative thinking in Covid-19

Die Echo: FARR and beyond

Gemsbok: Bewusmaking van FASD op Upington op n baie spesiale manier

A Commercial Feature: September 9 – International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Day


Prince Albert Friend: February publication

Prince Albert Friend: March publication

Prince Albert Friend: April publication

Trouw – Dutch Newspaper publication: April publication

Prince Albert Friend: May publication

Press release: 2021 Press release 2 Why 9 September (and FASD Knot) 30 Aug 2021

Press release: 2021 Press Release International FASD Day – 9 September

Die Echo: FARR Burgersdorp HMHB Baby Shower

Die Echo: Better Together in Difficult Times

Die Echo: Britstown staan saam teen FASA (pg.8)

Die Echo: FARR Heritage Day (pg. 3)

Die Echo: Join FARR’s social media drive

Gemsbok: FARR se gesonde moeder gesonde baba werp goeie vrugte af

Noordkaap Bulletin: No alcohol while pregnant


Gemsbok: Internasionale FASA-dag herdenking

Prince Albert Friend: November publication

Aliwal Weekblad: FARR Burgersdorp hosted an art competition

Die Echo: A Journey of hope together

Die Echo: FASD day celebrated in September

Die Echo: Saamstaan teen FAS

Die Echo: Seminar for professionals

Gemsbok: FARR gee opleiding op Keimoes


Gemsbok: Internasionale FASA-dag (pg.9)

Graaff-Reinet: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder highest in SA

Prince Albert Friend: March publication

Prince Albert Friend: July publication

Prince Albert Friend: August publication (pg. 24)

Prince Albert Friend: September publication

Prince Albert Friend: October publication

Trompsburg’s Voice: International FASD day commemorated in Trompsburg

Weekend Argus: International FASD day 9 September

Daily Maverick: SA needs more programmes to address foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, say experts

Daily Voice: International FASD day 9 September

Die Courier: 9 September

Die Echo: 9 September

Die Echo: A succesful international FASD day campaign for FARR

Die Echo: Beyond all limits

Die Echo: Bringing hope to the Britstown Community

Die Echo: FAStrap en Think Twice in die gemeenskap

Die Echo: Internasionale FASA dag

Die Echo: International FASD Day in Britstown

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