MORE OREGONIANS BECOMING GAMBLING ADDICTS
People in Oregon are having a difficult time with the Oregon Lottery machines. There is not a problem with the actual games, per say, but many people are becoming hooked on gambling. They are no longer playing for the chance at winning a jackpot or even the thrill of winning. More Oregonians are gambling for the very same reasons that people do drugs, escaping boredom or stressful lives.
The result of this rise in gambling addiction is more people feeling riddled with guilt, shame, and even suicide because they have resorted to stealing from their kid’s piggy banks, pawing their valuables, lying, and pilfering from employers.
Damage Takes a Toll
People in Oregon are spending billions of dollars into state-owned video machines, feeding a revenue stream that goes to schools, parks, and other programs. It has actually become a public health issue. Figures gathered by the Oregon Health Authority offer clues that the misery is far more widespread than lottery officials are willing to acknowledge, according to an article in The Oregonian newspaper.
It is estimated that there are an estimated 81,000 problem or pathological gamblers in Oregon. The state Addictions and Mental Health Services says that these gambling habits severely disrupt their lives. In 2012, 1,321 adults sought treatment for gambling addiction. The average gambling debt is $26,738 and the average household income is $32,140
In its latest diagnostic manual, the American Psychiatric Association this year revised its definition of problem gambling from an impulse-control disorder to clear-cut addiction similar to drug abuse and alcoholism. Some women share their stories . . .
Catherine Lyon is an author, writer, and advocate who now lives in the Phoenix, AZ area. She had lived in So. Oregon over 24+yrs and become addicted to the video poker/Slot games on these machines and used them as a form of “escape and cope” from her past underlying issues from childhood sexual abuse and undiagnosed PTSD and other disorders. When the money ran out, she pawned, sold, stole, and lied just to get more money to gamble. “I wrote my story in a book, a memoir, so others could learn some of the roots and have an in-depth look as to why I turned to addicted gambling. It is a very devastating disease and is having a negative impact in our communities across America.”
Kitty Martz, 44, a recovering video poker and slot addict who lives in Northwest Portland said, “The wins are often far more dangerous than the demoralizing, self-loathing losses. It creates this oasis of belief.” Martz was married to a wealthy man and went to divorced, homeless in Portland while she ran Burnside bars spending her last dollars on lottery machines.
Bonnie Sample, a Gresham mother who owned a house-cleaning service, says she turned to video poker machines to get a break from raising a son with Asperger’s. She would gamble if she had $100 on her. When that ran out, she would gamble if she could scrape together $10 by shoplifting and returning an item to Fred Meyer, by selling her plasma, sometimes by begging on the street. She said, “I cared about nothing and no one but feeding the machine and keeping myself in that action.”
Today I was able to share my advocacy on a fantastic and informative Radio Show called “Rise Above” with Mac Mullings and broadcast on iHeart Radio and KOKC from Oklahoma City. Here is the link and how it went!
Come take a watch: “Rise Above Radio KOKC Live”