March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Author: Janeane Krongos,Tillamook Family Counseling Center

Each year, the month of March is recognized as Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Problem gambling can be defined as any form of gambling that has a negative effect on your life. This concern affects the lives of many Oregonians and those who are close to them. According to the Oregon Health Authority, it is estimated that 84,000 Oregon adults meet the clinical diagnosis of a problem gambling disorder. Adults who experience problem gambling may have: relationship problems, strained finances, absenteeism from work, changes in mood, and co-occurring substance use disorder. Gambling can also affect the youth population. According to the Oregon Health Authority, it is estimated that 5,800 Oregon youth are at risk or are currently experiencing problem gambling. Sources of youth gambling include: sports betting, games of skill, social gaming, dice games, lottery tickets, fantasy sports, scratch off cards, and video games. The Oregon Health Authority has found that 11th grade students who gamble had higher rates of: substance use, truancy, and physical fights.

The good news is that this concern can be prevented. Prevention resources can be accessed from the Oregon Problem Gambling Resource (OPGR) website at opgr.org. Examples of prevention resources that can be found on this website include: problem gambling warning signs, responsible guidelines, and conversation tips. Local prevention services are available at Tillamook Family Counseling Center. Prevention services include: presentations, information dissemination, and more. To learn more about local prevention services call (503)842-8201.

If gambling is a problem for you or someone you know, help is available. Oregon residents who experience problems with gambling and for those who are directly affected by problem gambling can access free and confidential treatment from a Certified Gambling Addiction Counselor. Tillamook Family Counseling Center is Tillamook County’s problem gambling treatment site. To learn more about treatment call 503-842-8201. If you live outside of Tillamook County, you can contact the OPGR helpline to locate the nearest problem gambling treatment provider. The OPGR helpline can be reached 24/7 by calling 1-877-MY-LIMIT (695-4648).

Continue reading this column to get some ideas of ways you can observe this year’s Problem Gambling Awareness Month:

  • Examine your knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors on the topic of gambling.
  • Learn about problem gambling. For national information visit the National Council on Problem Gambling’s FAQ’s. This information can be accessed at: org. For state specific information visit oregon.gov and search for problem gambling. Once you search this information you will get a brief overview of the Oregon Problem Gambling Services and access state problem gambling statistics.
  • Learn common problem gambling warning signs. The warning signs can be found at opgr.org.
  • Visit OPGR’s website take a short self-evaluation. This evaluation can help you understand if you are at risk for problem gambling.
  • If you choose to gamble, create responsible guidelines. Examples of responsible guidelines include: setting a time limit, not using substances when gambling, not gambling using credit, and/or not gambling to cope with stress.
  • Visit opgr.org to learn when and how to talk to an adult about problem gambling.
  • Visit opgr.org to learn when and how to talk to youth about problem gambling.
  • Gift responsibly. Abstain from buying lottery tickets or scratch off cards for youth under the legal age to purchase gambling products.
  • Like and/or share SOS Tillamook’s problem gambling prevention Facebook post on your personal Facebook page.
  • Program the OPGR helpline (1-877-MY LIMIT) into your phone. This helpline provides free and confidential help for those experiencing problem gambling and for those who are directly affected by problem gambling.
  • Put a SOS Tillamook “Hope and Help” magnet on the filing cabinet at your place of employment or on your home refrigerator. The “HOPE and Help” magnet lists important numbers including the OPGR problem gambling helpline number.
  • If you are in an administrative position at your place of employment, consider adding a problem gambling section in your personnel handbook. In the handbook you can include the OPGR helpline number and information about local treatment options.
  • Contact the prevention department at Tillamook Family Counseling Center to ask about problem gambling prevention services.
  • Call Tillamook Family Counseling Center to ask about free and confidential problem gambling treatment services by calling (503)842-8201. The Tillamook Family Counseling Center staffs a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is also a Certified Gambling Addiction Counselor (CGAC).

This column was published by the Headlight Herald on March 8th, 2021. Online column can be viewed by visiting: https://www.tillamookheadlightherald.com/opinion/march-is-problem-gambling-awareness-month/article_21200784-7adf-11eb-aea9-3fd350d09517.html

April 27, 2021

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