If you’ll be visiting a liquor store in Yellowknife next week, you’ll be able to pick up some complimentary condoms and a pregnancy test kit with your bottle of vino.
The Yellowknife Association for Community Living (YKACL) has organized free-of-charge awareness packages containing condoms, pregnancy tests, and information slips about safe pregnancy.
The packages will be available in Yellowknife liquor stores as well as the following bars: The Raven Pub, Black Knight, Sam’s Monkey Tree Pub, and The Woodyard.
YKACL is a non-profit organization that supports people with disabilities including those who suffer from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Lynn Elkin, the organization’s executive director, told CKLB that the campaign aims to educate the public about the risks associated with drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana during pregnancy.
“Part of helping raise awareness about issues with healthy pregnancy comes down to catching people who might not be thinking of that… who might not be intentionally planning to have a baby or who might be planning to and not really realize… that a healthy pregnancy begins right from when you start planning to be pregnant. So we thought a really good way of catching people’s attention was when they might be out in the evening,” said Elkin.
This is the third year in a row that the organization has distributed these awareness packages. Daron Letts, YKACL’s Communication and Administrative Officer, told CKLB: “The feedback has been very good. In previous years, people have gotten back to us and told us they tested positive.”
The earlier someone knows about their pregnancy, the earlier they can start making healthier choices according to Elkin and Letts.
Health Canada statistics show that four per cent of Canadians suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome. Approximately eleven per cent of Canadian mothers report consuming alcohol during pregnancy, and three per cent report binge-drinking during pregnancy. Approximately half of all pregnancies in Canada are unintended.
“If you’re out and you’re thinking, ‘Should I have a drink or not?’ you can just check with that pregnancy test in the bathroom if you’re not sure,” explained Elkin.
The first batch of awareness packages is scheduled to hit bars and liquor stores next week and will be available until Valentine’s Day.