National Gambling Awareness Week is March 3-9 and focuses on educating about problem gambling. The Lourdes Alcohol and Drug Education Prevention Team (ADEPT) have been providing the Broome County community with prevention education for over 10 years. ADEPT is participating in the 2013 Parenting Focused Problem Gambling Outreach and Education Project and will be educating parents about the signs and dangers of youth gambling. The program encourages parents to talk to their children about gambling and offers information on where to get help if they are worried their child might have a gambling problem.
According to the results of a survey conducted by the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services:
- 48% of 7-12th graders reported they had gambled in the past year
- 10% of adolescents in NYS (about 140,000) have had problems due to their gambling.
- An additional 10% are at risk for problem gambling
- Adolescents are 2-4 times more likely than adults to develop a gambling problem.
Gambling can be as addictive as drugs and alcohol, especially to adolescents. This age group is more likely to gamble if they witness adults gambling, especially if it is shown to be interesting and exciting. Adolescents and adults with gambling problems report being introduced to gambling by family members. Children, however, indicate that they would turn to their parents for help if they experienced problems with gambling.
This is how parents play a crucial role in educating their children about gambling, especially since gambling activities have become socially acceptable. In addition, youth are exposed to gambling now more than ever before. Children should receive the message that gambling is an activity meant for occasional entertainment, not as a way to make money. Adolescents should understand there can be risks and negative consequences associated with gambling activities.
For more information on adolescents and problem gambling call the NYS HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY or visit http://www.nyproblemgambling.org. Contact Lourdes ADEPT Substance Abuse Prevention Instructor at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to schedule a free educational program.