Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, takes an escalator from the Senate subway on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 30, 2021. Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s Republican senator has co-sponsored a proposal designed to help prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Sen. Susan Collins said the proposal would use early intervention to address the problem of prenatal substance exposure. She said the proposal would boost federal, state and local programs and funding for prevention efforts.

Collins said nearly a fifth of infants are potentially affected by prenatal exposure to substances such as alcohol and drugs every year. The legislation would create a national advisory council that would include parents, professional organizations, advocates and experts, the senator said.

Collins said the proposal would also direct the federal government to establish a research agenda on the subject, award grants and contract with public and private nonprofit groups. It would also authorize the U.S. Department of Education to address issues related to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.