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DHS news release

Aug. 9, 2006

Contact: Jim Sellers 503-945-5738
Program contact: Jeff Marotta 503-945-9709

State's first residential gambling treatment center opens doors

Oregon has expanded its nationally recognized gambling-treatment services with the opening of the state's first inpatient facility, which within a week of opening its doors was filled to capacity and had a growing wait list.

The new Salem facility at 3325 Harold Dr., N.E., strengthens a statewide network that already included 27 outpatient treatment clinics, short-term crisis/respite centers in Grants Pass and St. Helens, and a home-study program for persons with less severe problems.

An opening ceremony and open house at the 11-bed facility will be held Aug. 17 at 10:30 a.m. Among the scheduled speakers is a person in recovery from problem gambling.

"Oregon's program is recognized as one of the nation's most comprehensive," Jeff Marotta, problem gambling services manager in the Oregon Department of Human Services, said Wednesday. "We believe the new facility is the West Coast's only residential treatment program specifically designed to help pathological gamblers."

The treatment program is part of DHS's services promoting personal health and public safety by helping Oregonians overcome addictions through treatment.

Marotta said he knows of only one other state, Louisiana, that has state-financed residential treatment for persons with severe gambling addictions. Other residential treatment options exist but they are usually outside of the financial reach of problem gamblers and not specifically designed for them, he said.

Treatment in the DHS-managed program is offered at no cost to the individual because it is paid for by 1 percent of Oregon Lottery revenues, although the residential program will levy a nominal charge for recreational outings and other expenses that the program doesn't cover. (The outings are part of redirecting participants' recreation to non-gambling pursuits.)

The new Salem facility is being operated by Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare on a $327,000 annual contract with DHS for seven of the 11 beds. Cascadia added a 1,750-square-foot wing to its existing Salem facility that delivers residential services for alcohol and other drug addiction.

Marotta said inpatient treatment would typically last for 30 days, although actual length would depend on individual needs. Admission to the inpatient facility requires a referral from one of Oregon's outpatient programs and is reserved for those with the most severe problems.

Six months after completing Lottery-financed outpatient treatment, 81 percent of participants report they are gambling less or not at all. For the other 19 percent, Marotta said, there is now the possibility of finding help in residential care.

About 4,000 persons annually call the toll-free helpline at 877-278-6766.

A survey by the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators showed that Oregon has the largest per-capita budget to prevent and treat problem gambling and the nation's most comprehensive program. Surveyed program elements include a toll-free helpline, counselor certification, treatment, school programs and research.