Baton Rouge – Problem or pathological gambling is often called the “hidden addiction.”
To help raise awareness about Louisiana’s services for those experiencing problems with gambling, Gov. Bobby Jindal has declared the week of March 9 as Problem Gambling Awareness Week. The movement coincides with a national effort taking place.
“Problem gambling is a serious health issue in our state,” said Department of Health Secretary Alan Levine. “Roughly five percent of Louisiana’s adult citizens will find themselves having some problems with gambling in their lifetime.”
According to a study conducted by the Department of Health – Office for Addictive Disorders, problem gambling is a serious issue facing as many as 126,000 of our state’s residents.
Office for Addictive Disorders Assistant Secretary Michael Duffy said, “Pathological gambling is a ‘hidden addiction’ because gamblers don’t exhibit the external physical symptoms of alcoholism or drug addiction but they do suffer social, family and financial problems as a result of their gambling. These issues can be addressed by our counselors.”
Louisiana was one of the first states to have a publicly-funded residential treatment center for compulsive gamblers, called CORE: Center for Recovery, in Shreveport. The state also offers a full range of counseling and treatment programs for problem and compulsive gambling free of charge to Louisiana citizens.
A toll-free helpline (1-877-770-7867) is available to people with gambling problems. It handled over 2,400 calls for help last year. Furthermore, a Web site aimed at preventing problem gambling among youth is accessible atwww.thegamble.org.
For more information about problem gambling, please call the Louisiana Problem Gamblers Helpline at 1-877-770-STOP (7867) or visit www.laprobgam.org.