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Project hopes to stem alcohol-exposed pregnancies

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A new initiative from Dakotas-based Sanford Health hopes to prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in American Indian communities in South Dakota.

The three-year project will expand the use of a model currently used by the Oglala Sioux Tribe called Project CHOICES that has decreased binge drinking among women and minimized unintended pregnancies by encouraging contraception use.

Unlike other programs focusing on preventing alcohol exposure in women already pregnant, the Sanford program will focus on women who have not yet conceived.

Alcoholism is rampant on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The tribe says one in four children born on the reservation suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

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