Complexity of foetal alcohol or drug neuroimpairments


Dr. I. Elgen, Department of Paediatrics, Barneklinikken, N-5021 Haukeland Sykehus, Norway. Tel: +47-55-975200 | Fax: +47-55-960359 | Email:


Aims: To describe children exposed to street drug during pregnancy (SDE) and compare these with children suffering from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) regarding growth, somatic health and neuroimpairments.

Methods: In the region, Hordaland county an information program was carried out to educate health-care and social workers on symptoms and signs of SDE and FAS/FASD and referral was encouraged for suspected cases. Referred children received a neuropaediatric evaluation, and were categorized as FAS/FASD and SDE children.

Results: Among the referred children 50 were diagnosed with SDE and 47 children were diagnosed with FAS/FASD. SDE children had increased risk of neonatal abstinence symptoms but were somatic healthy and had no growth restriction and were performing well academically. Almost all children in both groups met the criteria of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Conclusion: Children exposed to drugs are somatic healthy but have increased risk of neuroimpairments such as ADHD.