Problem Gambling - A Public Health Issue; March Is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

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Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) is here, and now is the time to join the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, individuals, and organizations across the nation in this grassroots public awareness campaign of educating the general public, health care professionals, policymakers, and others about problem gambling as a public health concern.

We have to be especially vigilant about raising awareness and educating the community at large on the issue of problem gambling

Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) is here, and now is the time to join individuals and organizations across the nation in this grassroots public awareness campaign of educating the general public, health care professionals, policymakers, and others about problem gambling as a public health concern. The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) and FCCG partner organizations are calling upon the medical and health care communities to screen patients for a gambling problem, to make treatment readily available, and to promote the state’s 24-hour confidential and multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine (888-ADMIT-IT).

According to Pat Fowler, Executive Director of the FCCG, “There are more than one million residents who struggle with difficulties due to gambling and thousands more who are adversely affected. Until such time that health care professionals screen for the presence of a gambling problem and insurance companies provide appropriate coverage, Florida residents will continue to be treated symptomatically, without any hope of addressing their primary presenting health problem in many cases - compulsive gambling,” said Fowler.

The warning signs of problem or compulsive gambling include:

  •     Constantly thinking or talking about gambling
  •     Spending more time or money on gambling than you can afford
  •     Repeated attempts to control, cut back or stop gambling
  •     Gambling to escape stress or other problems
  •     Gambling to win back your previous losses
  •     Gambling until all of your money is gone
  •     Lying to family members and others to conceal your gambling activity
  •     Borrowing money from family or friends to gamble
  •     Stealing money or committing other illegal acts to get more cash to wager
  •     Neglecting work, family, household responsibilities or personal needs because of gambling.

The FCCG Helpline is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by trained HelpLine Specialists who work with a statewide network of certified treatment providers and community organizations to provide problem gamblers and their loved ones with the help and resources they need.

“We have to be especially vigilant about raising awareness and educating the community at large on the issue of problem gambling, because unlike any other addiction, problem gambling has no visible physical symptoms or saturation point, often resulting in heavy financial toll and devastating impacts on relationships and families,” said Fowler. It is the FCCG’s hope that more people become aware of the signs of problem gambling and recognize how to access the appropriate resources to address this public health concern.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling Helpline at 1-888-ADMIT-IT for confidential help.

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