Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gov. Patterson declares March 1 - 7 as National Problem Gambling Awareness Week

Dianne Henk, 518-457-8299
WWW Page

Sunday, March 1, 2009


March 1-7 is National Problem Gambling Awareness Week

State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner Karen M.
Carpenter-Palumbo today said New Yorkers should be aware that unlike an addiction to alcohol
and drugs where there are physical warning signs, problem gambling is a hidden addiction that
affects nearly one million individuals. Governor David A. Paterson has designated March 1-7 as
Problem Gambling Awareness Week in New York to educate New Yorkers on the warning signs
of problem gambling and the availability of services.

“Nearly one million New Yorkers as young as age 12 are dealing with problem gambling, and
that doesn’t include the family members and friends who are also impacted by its devastating
consequences,” said Commissioner Carpenter-Palumbo. “It is our responsibility to let New
Yorkers know how to recognize the signs of problem gambling and direct them to the help they
need through our toll-free HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY."

The new HOPEline offers assistance from clinically trained professionals on a confidential basis.
Crisis and motivational interviewing for callers in need is provided, and 48-hour follow-up calls
are offered. Through this HOPEline, New York’s citizens have access to consumer-focused
addiction crisis support and statewide referrals to services.

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.
Peter Citrin, now 20 years in recovery from problem gambling, said, “At my lowest point, when
I had lost hope of saving myself, my family and my livelihood, I made a call to the Gambler’s
Anonymous hotline and spoke to a total stranger for what seemed like hours. He told me a lot of
things, but mostly he offered hope. That was the first step of my journey back. Recovery is
nurtured by hope. Not hoping to hit the number or that your horse comes in, but escaping the
cycle of addiction to gambling which has made your home life unmanageable and chaotic. You
do not have to do this alone.”

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.

To minimize the harm that problem gambling can cause to both individuals and society as a
whole, OASAS has 57 problem gambling programs in throughout New York State.
Jim Maney, Executive Director of New York Council on Problem Gambling said, “Throughout
the year, the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) is dedicated to increasing
public awareness about problem and compulsive gambling and advocating for support services
and treatment for persons adversely affected by gambling. Participation in this national, state and local effort provides an excellent opportunity to further educate New York residents and
policymakers about problem gambling issues and to garner support for dedicated funding sources necessary to provide the much-needed access to problem gambling education, research,
prevention, treatment, and recovery services.”

The National Problem Gambling Awareness Week is sponsored by The National Council on
Problem Gambling (NCPG). The goal of this campaign is to educate the general public and
health care professionals about the warning signs of problem gambling and raise awareness
about the help that is available both locally and nationally. The 2009 theme is, “Real Addiction,
Real Recovery.”

OASAS also is asking that those people in recovery from problem gambling, alcoholism or
drugs share their story of recovery to inspire hope in those in dealing with addiction and to
educate the public on growing numbers of New Yorkers in recovery.

To read stories of recovery or submit one for the Your Story Matters campaign, go to More information is available at

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