Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Left Hand, meet Right Hand


FROM: Left Hand
TO: Right Hand
DATE: March 2, 2005
RE: What's up?

A press release from the Oregon Department of Human Services announces: "2 problem-gambling programs, state manager to be recognized."

The Oregon Lottery -- with billboards round the state promising $MILLION$ to some lucky player -- meets gambling addiction:
Problem-gambling programs in Lincoln and Linn counties and the state's problem gambling services manager will be recognized Thursday in Newport for exemplary efforts in preventing, treating and promoting public understanding of gambling addiction.

The Oregon Gambling Addiction Treatment Foundation, an advocate for increased public awareness of problem gambling and ensuring access to treatment, will present awards Thursday during a statewide problem-gambling training conference at the Embarcadero Hotel.
Receiving the awards will be:
  • Treatment award: Lincoln County Health and Human Services' problem-gambling program.

  • Prevention award: Linn County Department of Health Services' problem-gambling prevention program.

  • Michael H. McCracken Memorial Award: Jeffrey J. Marotta, Ph.D., problem gambling services manager in the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS). The award is named for the foundation's founder and former director, who was an effective advocate for problem-gambling treatment and other health-care services.
"Both the Lincoln and Linn county programs accomplished remarkable gains in increasing awareness of problem gambling services," said Thomas L. Moore, the foundation's executive director.

"The Linn County prevention program was able to reach 552 middle-school students in five schools, a great partnering effort with the schools, the county, the commission on children and families, and the state.

"Lincoln County was a phoenix example of resurrecting a program that had essentially closed. The number of problem-gambling enrollments greatly exceeded the previous years' performance." Moore said Lincoln County's sole staffer, Marilyn Heins, conducted numerous community presentations to re-establish the program in the public's mind.

Moore said Marotta, who manages DHS' Lottery-financed treatment program, will be recognized for improving quality and introducing greater accountability into Oregon's research-based treatment while also bringing national attention to Oregon's innovative problem gambling services. Innovations include a home-based treatment program for seniors and people in rural areas and problem-gambling respite programs in Columbia and Josephine counties. Marotta, a clinical psychologist and recognized authority on treating problem gamblers, joined DHS in 2000.

Keynote speaker at the conference will be David Hodgins, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Calgary who is recognized as a leading expert on problem-gambling recovery. He will speak Thursday at 9 a.m. about effective treatments for problem gamblers and their families.
For DHS, the good news, as far as I can tell, is that more lottery funds are going to more problem gamblers. By that reasoning, a new lottery game can get more problem gamblers to help pay for more problem gambling services.

Oregon bureaucrats are a perfect illustration of the old line describing the lottery as a tax on people who are bad at math, except in this case the tax spenders are bad at math also.

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