For the 18th year, the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling dedicates March to help increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services. This coincides with the National Problem Gambling Awareness Month whose campaign theme is “Awareness + Action.”
“Problem Gambling Awareness Month is important to us because, although millions of Americans are affected by problem gambling, it’s one of the least talked about addictions,” said Executive Director of the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling Julie Hynes. “With the expansion of legalized gambling, we want to help people be aware that gambling isn’t risk-free. We want people who know they are affected by problem gambling that they are most definitely not alone—in fact, research shows that one in every 38 Oregon adults has a gambling problem.”
National Problem Gambling Awareness Month is a grassroots effort that brings together a wide range of stakeholders – public health organizations, advocacy groups and gambling operators – who work collaboratively to let people know that hope and help exist.
Last year, visits to the Oregon Problem Gambling Resource website (www.opgr.org) increased dramatically during March as result of the focused marketing and outreach efforts.
“Creating awareness of problem gambling and available resources is a statewide commitment that is reflected in the official proclamation that Oregon Lottery and the Oregon Health Authority worked with the Governor’s office to develop,” added Lottery’s Senior Manager Product Market and Director of Corporate Social Responsibility Stacy Shaw, who is also an officer on the National Council on Problem Gambling board of directors.
“It’s great that people are seeking information,” Shaw added, “and we hope that the conversation and action continues to grow this year. We’re proud to be in a state that has robust system of prevention through treatment services that are free to anyone concerned about gambling problems, and we want people to know that they don’t have to worry about seeking help.
“This year we are focusing on letting people know that in Oregon treatment is really free, a message that’s important to people struggling with gambling issues.”
Roger Nyquist, a member of the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling as well as an Oregon Lottery retailer and county commissioner said awareness about treatment is key.
“I recognize the importance of an ongoing focus to ensure community awareness of the risks associated with gambling and the resources available for both prevention and treatment,” he said. “The impact of problem gambling extends beyond the gambler, affecting families, friends and communities.”
The Oregon Lottery’s commitment to problem gambling support is year-round. Since 1992, one percent of Oregon Lottery profits has funded problem gambling treatment and prevention efforts throughout Oregon. Since that time, over $100 million in Lottery funds has supported those services.
To get help for a gambling problem, anyone can call 1-877-MYLIMIT. Treatment is free, confidential and it works. For more information about problem gambling treatment, how to have the conversation or to chat with a specialist, go to Oregon Problem Gambling Resource at opgr.org.
About the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling
The Oregon Council on Problem Gambling is the state affiliate to the National Council on Problem Gambling. Its purpose is to promote the health of Oregonians by supporting efforts to minimize gambling related harm. Board members include stakeholders from the gaming industry, the treatment and prevention field, the recovery community and state and county administrators.