The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) which operates the state’s problem gambling HelpLine 888-ADMIT-IT, is participating with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), and other state affiliate councils to increase awareness of the serious consequences of problem gambling for the individual, the family and the community during Problem Gambling Awareness Week, the week of March 4 – March 10, 2012.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, pathological gambling is a treatable, mental-health disorder. Much like alcohol and drug abuse, the profound need for clinical treatment services is underscored by key Florida statistics and trends:
- Over 1 million Floridians have at one time experienced problem gambling.
- The occurrence of problem and pathological gambling among adults and adolescent Floridians is more than twice that of the national average.
- Problem gambling’s negative and costly socio-economic impacts to the state include exacerbating unemployment, alcohol and drug dependence, domestic abuse and crime. For example, over one-third of problem gamblers ultimately commit illegal acts.
- With the dramatic increase of gambling activity in Florida, the incidence of problem gamblers is expected to increase.
Unlike alcohol and substance abuse treatment, there is no state allocation for clinical treatment of compulsive gamblers. The FCCG has been fortunate as of recent however, to receive funding from the Seminole Tribe of Florida through the compact with the State for the treatment of this disorder. The FCCG now offers these supports through the Recovery Path Treatment Program, which provides problem gamblers and those affected by problem gambling with the opportunity to receive treatment services designed for their particular needs—regardless of their ability to pay.
Callers to the 24-hour HelpLine 888-ADMIT-IT are matched with treatment counselors in FCCG’s network of State and Nationally Certified Gambling Treatment Professionals. All of FCCG’s HelpLine referral providers are certified in gambling addiction. Pat Fowler, Executive Director reflects “The Recovery Path Treatment Program is one of the most significant advances in the mission of the FCCG to improve the quality of life for Floridians suffering the devastation of a gambling addiction. Now, more than ever, our 24-hour HelpLine is a lifeline for individuals and loved ones seeking help.”