Middle School Art Contest Raises Awareness of Problem Gambling

For Immediate Release: Monday, February 24, 2014

Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department, Division

It is no coincidence that March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. For many Oregonians, the month of March means “madness,” as in March Madness, a basketball lover’s paradise. The NCAA basketball tournament is one of the most bet-upon events in the United States.

Gambling is often not considered a risky behavior, yet research suggests otherwise. Roughly 80,000 adult Oregonians are problem or pathological gamblers. Problem gamblers report significant problems with relationships, bankruptcy, employment and legal issues. Thoughts of suicide are reported by more than 25 percent of those being treated for disordered gambling.

Youth who gamble are much more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, and some of them will go on to develop serious gambling problems. The adolescent brain is developmentally inclined toward risk, minimal consideration of consequences, and preference for stimulation and novelty – all of which gambling offers in abundance.

As part of the awareness campaign, all Oregon middle school students are invited to submit artwork for possible inclusion in the 2015 Oregon Health Authority Problem Gambling Awareness calendar. The deadline for submissions is March 21.

Twelve winning designs will be featured in the calendar, which will be distributed throughout the state. Prizes include a $50 gift card for the calendar cover and $25 gift cards for the other 11 months.

Artwork should be on letter-size (8½” x 11”) white paper. Submit entries to Andy Cartmill, Washington County Health and Human Services, 155 N First Ave., Suite 250, MS 70, Hillsboro, OR 97124. Complete guidelines are available at www.co.washington.or.us/HHS.

Free and confidential help for problem gambling is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 1-877-MYLIMIT or by visiting www.1877mylimit.org. Trained professional staff members are available to listen, educate, answer questions and refer people to free and confidential treatment.

Media Contact:

Wendy Gordon, Communications Coordinator/PIO