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DHS news release

March 4, 2004

Contact: Patricia Feeny (503) 945-6955
Program Contact: Jeffrey J. Marotta (503) 945-9709

Oregon steers the nation into Problem Gambling Awareness Week

The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) has partnered with the Oregon Lottery to develop a problem gambling awareness campaign for use in Oregon and the nation.

"Now more than ever we need to raise awareness of problem gambling," said Jeffrey Marotta, Ph.D., problem gambling services manager at DHS. "At the same time gambling accessibility is expanding, problem gambling services are contracting. If we can't serve as many problem gamblers, we need to do a better job of helping people avoid gambling problems."

Marotta said combining the marketing and production expertise at the Oregon Lottery with the problem gambling technical expertise at DHS has resulted in a 2004 national campaign tool kit that has been well received both nationally and internationally (view at www.npgaw.org). The campaign materials include TV, radio and print ads; brochures and posters for the public; and special materials for health care professionals.

The campaign will roll out during Problem Gambling Awareness Week, March 8-14.

"Oregon's problem gambling services and Problem Gambling Awareness Week will help us strike a balance between maximizing the benefits of state-operated gambling with minimizing the costs," said Marotta. "While the majority of people gamble with few or no adverse consequences, the widespread availability of gambling in Oregon affects more than 60,000 problem gamblers, their families, and their communities."

Last year, about 4,000 people called the Oregon Gambling Help-Line (877 2-STOP-NOW), and 1,503 problem gamblers and 293 family members of problem gamblers received specialized treatment.

At the invitation of the National Council on Problem Gambling and the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators, Oregon was asked to spearhead the 2004 national efforts. This invitation followed a 2003 Oregon campaign, which was later recognized to be among the nation's best state efforts.

"Oregon continues to be a nationwide leader in providing services for problem gamblers," said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. "The strong partnership of the Oregon Department of Human Services and the Oregon Lottery provided the driving force in developing a complete set of brand-new public-awareness materials."

Oregon's kick-off to Problem Gambling Awareness Week will be a two-day conference at the Clarion Hotel in Springfield on Thursday and Friday that will focus on client diversity and cultural competency in treating problem gamblers.

Problem Gambling Awareness Week activities will be occurring in communities throughout Oregon. To find out what your community is planning, call your county mental health department or email julie.earnest@state.or.us