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Increase In Online Gambling Leads To More Addictions
Dave Durbin refers to gambling, especially the increasingly popular
online gambling, as "the quiet disease."
Durbin is regional administrator for the state’s Office of Addictive
Disorders with the Department of Health and Hospitals.
"It’s such a quiet disease, people don’t want to talk about it," he
Durbin said counselors can help gambling addicts learn to avoid gambling
places, but "that’s the problem with the Internet – it’s hard to treat
because it’s so easy to access now."
Egan Jones, a licensed clinical social worker, said, "We’re finding it’s
a bigger problem every year. Last year, the FTC sent out a warning about
kids gambling on the Internet."
Durbin said the seven-parish Cenla region has the second highest number
of admissions of people in Louisiana with gambling problems, behind
"We had admitted, four or five years ago, one client every month or one
client every two months. Now it’s 16 per month," Durbin said.
While Shreveport has the first state-funded treatment facility for
gambling addicts, Cenla’s has since opened its first intensive
outpatient treatment facility for gambling addicts, the Avoyelles
Gambling Recovery Center in Bunkie.
"We do want to make sure people understand there’s help available,"
"It’s confidential, doesn’t cost anything to come," he said, because the
state gets funding from the gaming commission to use to pay for
"Most people that need treatment have very little resources left,
because they’ve already gambled it away," Durbin said.
Earl Reed, manager of the compulsive gambling treatment in central
Louisiana at the three Avoyelles Compulsive Gamblers Recovery Centers at
429 Murray St. in Alexandria, in Bunkie and in Marksville, recalled a
recent case of an online gambling addiction.
He said an area woman began gambling at a regular casino but soon got on
a computer with a friend and found different gambling Web sites.
"At first it wasn’t a problem for her, but after three months she had
maxed out three credit cards for $32,000," Reed said.
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