Community Health: Virginia Legislature Senate Bill 1098
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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements in the course NURS 471: Community Health Nursing II Old Dominion University NORFOLK, VIRGINIA Spring 2011 Community Health: Virginia Legislature Senate Bill 1098
The purpose of this assignment is to introduce and involve the student nurse in their state legislative process. The decisions made at the state legislative level affect all aspects of daily life, including health issues. As student nurses, it is important to be aware of potential decisions and laws that will directly affect the care and wellbeing of patients, the community, and the profession in general. This paper will explore one health issue that has been introduced as part of the 2011 Virginia General Assembly Legislative Session. Statement of the Issue and Related Bill
There have been well over 100 health related bills introduced in Virginia’s current General Assembly session. Senate Bill 1098 was introduced on January 11, 2011 and referred to the Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services on the same day (Virginia General Assembly, 2011). This bill would require alcohol retailers to post “a sign in a conspicuous location that bears a warning regarding the risk of consuming alcohol during pregnancy” (Virginia General Assembly, 2011, B-12). The purpose of this bill is to decrease the number of alcohol related birth defects by increasing awareness and education. This bill is related to the issue of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, which can result in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and variants of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). This bill must get a majority vote in committee in order to proceed to the senate floor. Statement of Position on the Issue
I am strongly in favor of the passage of Senate Bill 1098. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that the incidence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy has remained largely unchanged since 1991 (Denny, Tsia, Floyd, & Green, 2009). The CDC reports that 12.2 % of pregnant women reported alcohol use and 2% reported binge drinking (Denny et al, 2009). This is unacceptable. Point-of-purchase warning signs, the focus of Senate Bill 1098, would act as an additional tool to decrease the reported statistics. A letter to Senator Frank. Wagner, of the 7th district, outlined my position and advocacy in support of this bill (Appendix). Supportive Rationale
As previously stated, 12.2% of pregnant women have reported alcohol use within the past 30 days. Alcohol has been proven to be a teratogen. The U.S. Surgeon General’s advisory board specifically advises abstainment of alcohol for women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant (Denny, et al., 2009). No conclusive study, to date, has shown any level of alcohol consumption to be safe. Prenatal exposure to alcohol can cause severe permanent birth defects; including cognitive and motor impairment, central nervous system disorders, craniofacial defects, growth restriction and behavioral problems (Floyd, Weber, Denny, & O’Connor, 2009). The birth defects associated with FAS and FASD are 100 % preventable. A U.S. Preventative Services Task Force study found that prevention strategies must be focused on the woman of childbearing ages 18-44 (Floyd et al., 2009). This is especially important because key fetal development often occurs before pregnancy recognition by the woman. A research study done by the FASD Center for Excellence found information dissemination as the...
References: Center for Science in the Public Interest. (2008). State action guide: Mandatory point-of-purchase messaging on alcohol and pregnancy. Retrieved from http://cspinet.org/pdf/state_action_guide.pdf.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/fasd.
Denny, C., Tsai, J., Floyd R., & Green, P. (2009). Alcohol use among pregnant and nonpregnant women of childbearing age – United States, 1991-2005. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 58(19), 529-532.
Florida Office of Drug Control, (2009). Florida’s drug control strategy. Retrieved from http://www.flgov.com/drugcontrol.
Floyd, R., Weber, M., Denny, C. & O’Connor, M. (2009). Prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 15, 193-199.
Virginia General Assembly. (2011). Senate Bill 1098. Retrieved from http://legis.state.va/gov.
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