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Problem Gambling Awareness Month at Eastern

Written by Jack Meltzer

Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University President Elsa M. Núñez has declared March 2010 as National Problem Gambling Awareness Month at the University.  Eastern will join the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling (CCPG) in a month-long campaign to increase public awareness of problem gambling.  This is the second year in a row that CCPG has awarded Eastern a mini-grant to support its problem gambling awareness campaign.

This effort will help educate the Eastern campus community about problem gambling warning signs; tell where to call for help; and raise awareness of the consequences of problem gambling and the resources available for individuals whose gambling is disrupting their lives. It seeks to provide recovering problem gamblers in the local community with an opportunity to educate the public and policymakers about the social and financial effectiveness of services available for problem gambling.  

 "Problem gambling is a public health issue affecting millions of Americans of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds in all communities at a significant and economic cost," said Núñez. "However, problem gambling is treatable and treatment is effective in minimizing the harm to both individuals and society as a whole," "In order to make a positive impact in the community, we need to be sure that the individuals and families that are in need of our services are available to access them."

Thomas Broffman, assistant professor of sociology, and a team of five of his junior Bachelor of Social Work students are leading the university's problem gambling campaign, which extends into April. Broffman said that college students are at high risk for problem gambling because of the proximity to the casinos, the prevalence of online gambling and their age range, which is prone to high-risk behavior. He also noted that, "Gambling is the third highest source of tax revenue for the state of Connecticut."

Eastern is encouraging all members of the campus community to spread the message that there is help for problem gamblers through treatment, and to support those who are in treatment.

Two special events occurring as part of the campaign include a Recovery Panel on March 10 from 7-9 p.m. in Room 219 of the Student Center, and a Hot Dog Event on April 13 from noon to 2 p.m. in front of Webb Hall.  Literature on problem gambling will be available. 

            National Problem Gambling Awareness Week at Eastern is a collaborative effort sponsored by the National Council on Problem Gambling, the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators, the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, Eastern's Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work and Office of Wellness Promotion.


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