Help stop underage gambling
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. YOUthDecide.org. 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