OASAS Expands Problem Gambling Prevention Services

Twelve Prevention Programs Added to Heighten Awareness

ALBANY, NY (10/06/2008)(readMedia)-- State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner Karen M. Carpenter-Palumbo today awarded funding for 12 additional prevention programs in New York to raise awareness of the warning signs of problem gambling.

"Unlike an addiction to alcohol and drugs where you see warning signs, problem gambling is a hidden addiction and the devastation to the individual can go undetected," said Commissioner Carpenter-Palumbo. "New Yorkers need to know that gambling is not a risk-free behavior."

The awards, which total $702,000, expand problem gambling prevention services statewide to a total of 32 programs.

"More than 30 years of research tells us that we need to change parental and community attitudes, norms and expectations, increase law enforcement efforts and be aware of implied messages and advertisements regarding gambling," the Commissioner said.

Problem gambling affects nearly one million adult and adolescent New Yorkers. An OASAS prevalence study found that 5 percent of adults, or 668,000, experienced problem gambling behaviors within the past year. A survey of 7th through 12th graders found that 10 percent, or 140,000, experienced problem gambling in the past year. An additional 10 percent of adolescents in New York were identified through the survey as being at risk for developing a gambling problem.

A National Gambling Impact Study Commission report on pathological gambling found that the prevalence of problem gambling increases by 50 percent in communities that are within a 50-mile radius of a casino or racino. Each of the problem gambling prevention programs are located within an hour's drive of a casino or racino.

Some strategies employed by the programs may include public awareness campaigns, developing and enforcing policies and laws related to underage gambling activities, and/or including problem gambling awareness curricula in school settings.

"I have heard parents say they are worried about drugs and drinking, but didn't understand the risk of gambling for their children," continued Commissioner Carpenter-Palumbo. "It never occurred to them that what seemed harmless could turn into a serious gambling addiction."

The warning signs of problem gambling include: thinking constantly about gambling; increasing bets to sustain the thrill; exhibiting agitation when cutting back on gambling; gambling as an escape; "chasing" or trying to offset losses with more gambling; lying to conceal gambling activity; financing bets through illegal acts; jeopardizing significant relationships with family and friends; relying on others to bail them out, and an inability to control or stop gambling.

OASAS has established a Policy Steering Committee comprised of prevention and treatment providers, special interest groups and OASAS staff to develop recommendations on problem gambling prevention, treatment, recovery and research.

OASAS oversees one of the nation's largest addiction services programs, with 1,550 prevention and treatment providers which serve 110,000 New Yorkers on any given day. There are 25 outpatient problem gambling treatment programs currently in New York and it is the OASAS goal to make such services accessible to residents of every county. To learn more about the warning signs of problem gambling, call the problem gambling helpline at 1-800-437-1611.

For information or assistance with an alcohol or substance abuse problem in New York State, call the addictions helpline at 1-800-522-5353 or go to the OASAS Web Site, www.oasas.state.ny.us.

A list of awardees, including funding amount and contact telephone number:

Madison Co. Council of Alcohol and Substance Abuse ($60,000)

  • Will do media campaign for local High School and community and incorporate problem gambling information into existing model programs in schools. Ph: 315-697-3947

Wyoming County Mental Health Department ($60,000)

  • Will do media advocacy, social marketing, strengthen coalition to focus on problem gambling issues, and incorporate problem gambling specific lessons into current model programs. Ph: 585-786-8970

Warren County Council for Prevention of Alcohol & Substance Abuse ($60,000)

  • Plans to increase knowledge and awareness re: risks of youth gambling behaviors; increase awareness and knowledge of parents; increase knowledge of key leaders, merchants, youth serving professionals. Ph: 518- 746-1527

Westchester County Student Assistance Services Corp. ($60,000)

  • Plans to increase knowledge of teen gambling and ability to recognize signs and symptoms, decrease favorable attitudes toward gambling, decrease association with peers involved in problem gambling. Will incorporate gambling screens and awareness existing curriculum, infuse underage gambling compliance into trainings on alcohol compliance checks and establish public awareness campaigns. Ph: 914-332 -1300

Addictions Care Center of Albany ($42,800)

  • Plans to increase awareness of youth gambling problems and dangers of youth gambling and increase negative attitude toward youth gambling. Ph: 518-465-5470

Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse: ($60,000)

  • Will increase public awareness with and knowledge multi-media campaign and infuse problem gambling prevention curricula into current Alcohol and other drug program in schools. Ph: 585-593-1920

The Pederson - Krag Center - Suffolk County ($60,000)

  • Goal is to increase knowledge of consequences to problem gambling; establish clear guidelines in schools code of conduct regarding gambling; and decrease intention to engage in gambling activities. Ph: 631-920-8053

The Substance Abuse Prevention Team of Essex County ($60,000)

  • Will incorporate gambling as an issue into existing prevention program in the schools, influence social policy and norms; increase capacity for problem identification and referral, provide community education and awareness campaign. Ph: 518-585-7424

Catholic Charities of Herkimer County ($60,000)

  • Plans to integrate gambling prevention into existing chemical dependency curriculum in schools, informational presentations to Parent/Teacher Organizations; retailers, Business Organizations and Law Enforcement as well as engage in social marketing and Media Advocacy. Ph: 315-894-9917

GCASA - Orleans County ($60,000)

  • Plans to reduce percentage of youth who report having gambled in the past year; decrease favorable parental attitudes; decrease family history and involvement; decrease early initiation; and conduct media literacy presentations. Ph: 585-815-1877

Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties ($60,000)

  • Will hold media campaigns and presentations to influential people as well as add gambling curriculum into current prevention programs in the schools. Ph: 518-762-8313

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital - Broome County. ($60,000)

  • Plans to increase awareness and knowledge of problem gambling in Middle and high school students and parents; establish relationships with local treatment providers, local decision makers and community service providers. Ph: 607-584-4500