Fetal alcohol syndrome and its wider spectrum of presentation fetal alcohol spectrum disorders represent a range of disorders that are sometimes difficult to recognise as they may present in a way that overlaps with other conditions. This makes identification and recognition challenging, which increases the burden associated with the disorder. When considering the reduction in morbidity, both prevention of exposure to alcohol by the fetus and early identification of cases are required. This selective review seeks to highlight some of the complexities involved as well as highlighting the challenges. By considering populations particularly at risk to exploring the reality of alcohol risk it will seek to offer some solutions to begin the process of change.