Every year the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems joins with other organizations to recognize March as National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The goals are to educate the public about problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services, and to encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for problem gambling. Aligned with this year's theme Have the Conversation, the council has planned a number of events to raise public awareness of gambling disorder, including a powerful program of special interest to lawyers and law students, by distinguished author and motivational speaker Michael J. Burke.
"Our programs for PGAM will raise awareness that problem gambling is an addictive disorder with potentially catastrophic consequences, but is treatable, and the consequences can be reduced or eliminated," says council Executive Director Arlene M. Simon. "Outreach is about providing hope ... encouraging those people who are hiding with their addiction, or that of a loved one, to seek help, to accept help and to gain strength in the knowledge they are not alone."
Gambling Disorder and Professional Burnout: Help for Clients and Counselors is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, March 3, at Fairfield Inn & Suites, Rehoboth Beach. To register, call 302-655-3261.
Michael Burke, author of "Never Enough: One Lawyer's True Story of How He Gambled His Career Away," published by the American Bar Association, will be the featured speaker from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, March 29, at Widener University Delaware Law School in Wilmington. Tickets are $80 before Wednesday, March 15, and $100 after. The program is free to Delaware Law School students and faculty. To register, go to NeverEnough.Eventbrite.com.
Though this program is especially pertinent to lawyers and law students, anyone who attends will be riveted by Burke's story of how he went from being a successful lawyer, loving father and husband and respected member of his community, to a closet alcoholic and gambling addict. The council partnered with Delaware Lawyers Assistance Program and Widener University Delaware Law School for this event.
The addicted gambler has no set profile and can be a man or woman; young, middle-aged or elderly; wealthy, middle-class or poor. The addiction does not discriminate based on race, creed, color, or sexual orientation. The one common factor is that the addicted gambler cannot stop and will go to any means to feed his or her habit. Suicide rates are higher among gambling addicts than those who suffer from any other addiction. More must be done to empower others to identify problem gamblers and connect those in need with the resources that can work to keep a person from destroying his or her life as well as the lives of loved ones. Burke's story, "Never Enough" is about doing just that.
Delaware Council on Gambling Problems is one of the largest problem gambling advocacy organizations in America, and one of the earliest affiliate members of the National Council on Problem Gambling. The private, nonprofit health agency is funded primarily through the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, with a vision to support individuals, families and communities by providing an effective, sustainable system of services for problem gambling prevention and treatment in Delaware.
The council subcontracts with qualified treatment providers dedicated to working one-on-one with individuals in need, and conducts outreach activities in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties targeting minority and bilingual communities in city, suburban and rural communities. It is a nonprofit health agency that was founded in 1979. Delaware Council on Gambling Problems Inc. is gambling neutral. For more information and other programs dates statewide, go to www.deproblemgambling.org.