2015 marks the second-annual National Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
The National theme this year is “Have the conversation.”
The U.S. is highlighting the issue of gambling disorders with it second-annual Problem Gambling Awareness Month throughout March.
An estimated 81,000 Oregon adults has a gambling problem — that’s about 9,600 adults here in Lane County, or one in every 37 adults. Recently, the American Psychiatric Association released its latest diagnostic manual (DSM-5), putting “gambling disorder” in its own category of a behavioral addiction, very similar to alcohol and drug addiction.
“Clues about a gambling problem are often hidden, sometimes even behind other addictions and mental health issues,” said Julie Hynes, Lane County problem gambling prevention coordinator.
Sometimes, clues can be a little more obvious, especially this time of year, during March Madness. Hynes says the wagers made in Nevada on the NCAA basketball tournament will likely reach a record $119 million. It is important to note, that figure is only counting the legal wagers in that state (it’s currently not legal to bet on sports outside Nevada and New Jersey). Those who play tournament brackets typically do it for fun – but some take brackets too far, spending more than they can afford.
Local efforts to help highlight awareness include a young adult video contest and middle school art search, sponsored by the Lane County Problem Gambling Advisory Committee. Both events include prizes for ALL eligible participants – proving that no gambling is involved.
Additionally, Lane County is sponsoring radio public service announcements to get out the message that help for gambling addiction is available – and it’s right here in Lane County.
“We want people to know that help is still free and available for problem gamblers and their loved ones,” said Hynes. “Too often this addiction goes hidden and unrecognized. People need to know that gambling disorders are preventable and treatable.”
About 200 gamblers and families were treated through the Emergence Gambling Treatment Program last year in Lane County. Anyone concerned about their own gambling behavior, or that of a loved one, can get help by calling the statewide gambling help line, 1-877-MY-LIMIT (877-695-4648), or chat online at www.opgr.org.
- Lane County Problem Gambling Prevention: www.preventionlane.org/gambling
- National Problem Gambling Awareness Month website: www.npgam.org/
- Oregon Problem Gambling Resource website
- Emergence Gambling Treatment Program (Lane County)
- DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association, Reference on Gambling Disorders
- Please use #PGAM when posting or tweeting about Awareness Month!
- Michele Tantriella-Modell, Emergence Gambling Program Director: 541.741.7107
- Ronda Hatefi, Lane County Problem Gambling Advisory Committee Chair: 541.688.7101
- Problem gambling is a serious public health issue for Oregon.
- Oregon’s investment in addressing problem gambling reduces harm and helps the economy.
- Treatment in Oregon is free, confidential, and it works. Help is available by calling the 24-hour helpline, 1-877-MY-LIMIT or online at www.opgr.org
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