Help stop un­der­age gam­bling

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Opinion -

I cur­rently work at BRiDGES Coun­cil on Al­co­holism and Sub­stance Abuse as the Pre­ven­tion Ed­u­ca­tion Spe­cial­ist part­ner­ing with the New York Coun­cil on Prob­lem Gam­bling on the YOU(th) De­cide Project. I am writ­ing to ex­press ex­cite­ment and grat­i­tude that more than 56 com­mu­nity lead­ers signed in sup­port of the YOU(th) De­cide mis­sion, and 1100 par­ent sig­na­tures were col­lected that af­fected more than 700 youths across Madi­son County.

The Mis­sion of YOU(th) De­cide is to em­power youth to make ed­u­cated de­ci­sions re­gard­ing their gam­bling be­hav­iors, and pre­pare com­mu­ni­ties to work to­gether to pre­vent un­der­age gam­bling. Did you know that among United States youth be­tween the ages of 14 and 21, 68 per­cent have gam­bled in the past year, and 11 per­cent have gam­bled twice a week or more? Of those youth, 6.5 per­cent are at-risk for, or have al­ready de­vel­oped, a gam­bling prob­lem (Welte, 2007).

Un­der­age gam­bling brings with it a num­ber of neg­a­tive con­se­quences, in­clud­ing, but not lim­ited to:

• In­creased like­li­hood of de­vel­op­ing a gam­bling ad­dic­tion;

• In­creased risk of delin­quency and crime;

• Dam­aged re­la­tion­ships and poor aca­demic per­for­mance;

• Men­tal health is­sues in­clud­ing de­pres­sion and sub­stance abuse dis­or­ders; • Over­all poor gen­eral health; • And at­tempted and com­pleted sui­cide.

There is not just one per­son, nor one group of peo­ple, who are af­fected by un­der­age gam­bling. There is not just one fac­tor in some­one’s life that alone leads to un­der­age gam­bling. There is also, not just one strat­egy that will along pre­vent un­der­age gam­bling.

You can find a list of peo- ple and or­ga­ni­za­tions who have signed a pol­icy or res­o­lu­tion of sup­port of the YOU(th) De­cide mis­sion on the web­site at www. YOUthDe­ If you know any of these peo­ple or or­ga­ni­za­tions, please take the time out to thank and con­grat­u­late them on their ef­forts to help keep our youth safe!

Kim Nowakowski, Pre­ven­tion Ed­u­ca­tion Spe­cial­ist, BRiDGES Coun­cil on Al­co­holism and

Sub­stance Abuse

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