Editor, The Messenger,
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Ten percent of Ohio’s adults are at risk for having a gambling issue and more than 90,000 Ohioans could currently be problem gamblers according to a 2017 Ohio survey.
In Athens, Hocking, and Vinton counties, that means more than 3,000 are at a low risk of having an issue; nearly 1,000 have a moderate risk, and there are more than 800 who may be problem gamblers.
The issue impacts everyone. Children play online games that stoke the same reaction a gambler has with a slot machine. People with drug and alcohol issues often have co-morbid addictions but don’t realize their gambling is a problem. Others coping with stress or trauma use gambling as a way to temporarily ease anxiety, only to cause further anxiety over time.
Ohio For Responsible Gambling was formed to help Ohio communities reduce problem gambling and build awareness of resources available for prevention and treatment of a gambling disorder. Every Ohioan can learn more. The Before You Bet campaign (https://www.beforeyoubet.org) offers free quizzes, community toolkits and helpful guides. The Change The Game program (https://changethegameohio.org) has everything parents and care providers need to know to unlock the reality of youth gambling.
Health Recovery Services (HRS) provides Problem Gambling prevention, screening and treatment services for Athens, Hocking, Vinton, Gallia, Jackson and Meigs County residents. These services are offered at no cost through funding from the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs ADAMH Board and the Athens, Hocking, Vinton 317 Board. To contact HRS, go to www.hrs.org.
March will come and go. Problem gambling in Ohio won’t. The time to change the game is now.
Reggie Robinson, Community Coordinator
Health Recovery Services