News Release Archive

  The Department of Health today announced plans to enhance
  its province-wide prevention and treatment programs for
  problem gambling. 
  "We are now in the position to implement more comprehensive
  programs to help Nova Scotians with gambling problems," said
  Health Minister Ron Stewart.  
  The introduction of video lottery terminals brought
  attention to the issue of problem gambling in Nova Scotia. 
  Acknowledging gambling's increasing popularity, the province
  mandated Drug Dependency Services to provide treatment for
  problem gamblers and their families. In 1993, a budget of
  $462,500 was set aside for treatment for the first time. 
  Video lottery terminals are still the most common outlet.
  It is estimated the new treatment programs will benefit
  approximately 4,000 to 8,000 people with gambling problems,
  including their families.
  The enhanced provincial treatment program for problem
  gamblers will feature a toll-free 1-800 telephone number
  staffed by professional counsellors 24 hours a day. It will
  offer confidential counselling and information on problem
  gambling, and will also provide a direct referral to
  treatment programs and to Gamblers Anonymous groups.
  Prevention and education programs will generate widespread
  awareness of problem gambling to help increase the support
  network available for people needing assistance. Research
  programs will try to determine the causes of problem
  gambling, who it affects and how it can be prevented. The
  Department of Health will also work with the Department of
  Education and Culture to include prevention programs in the
  school curriculum.
  "The majority of Nova Scotians will never develop a problem
  with gambling," said Dr. Stewart. "However, we do want to
  emphasize prevention and educational programs to reduce the
  risk of people developing problem gambling in the province,
  while at the same time offering quality treatment for people
  who currently need assistance."
  The Department of Health is injecting $1.2 million of new
  money into the prevention and treatment of problem gambling
  in Nova Scotia. This money is in addition to the $462,500
  spent annually in this area. The new funding will come from
  revenues generated by casino operations and video lottery
  Funding for prevention and treatment programs in other
  provinces ranges from $400,000 in Quebec to $1.5 million in
  The new funding from casino operations and the video lottery
  terminals will be allocated as follows: $460,000 will be
  spent on prevention/education/information; $565,000 for
  treatment; and $250,000 on research and evaluation. The
  previously allocated money, totalling $462,500, will be
  spent on treatment services. The department will oversee the
  development of the programs, which will be implemented by
  the private and not-for-profit sectors.
  In developing the newly strengthened program, the department
  consulted with many groups including: Nova Scotia Gaming
  Corporation, Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission, the
  Department of Education, members of Gamblers Anonymous,
  Canadian Foundation on Compulsive Gambling, National Council
  on Problem Gambling (U.S.) and the Alberta Alcohol and Drug
  Abuse Commission.
  Most people who gamble never develop a problem. But for
  those who need help, treatment is available in Nova Scotia. 
  Treatment is based on an assessment by therapists employed
  by the Department of Health's Drug Dependency Services. A
  typical treatment plan identifies key issues in a client's
  lifestyle and helps the client to develop coping mechanisms
  to address problems.
  Family involvement is also encouraged. Often families
  receive treatment to help them cope.  
  Clients treated by Drug Dependency come from all parts of
  Nova Scotia. They are served through a community network as
  well as regional Drug Dependency offices. Clients come from
  all walks of life.
  The substantial new funding for the prevention and treatment
  of problem gambling will be directed at several areas
  including youth, community action and public awareness.
  Education programs directed at youth will help them to avoid
  the behaviours that lead to problem gambling. Problem
  gambling will be added as an issue to school curriculums, in
  much the same way as substance abuse and cigarette smoking
  are discussed today.
  Since more needs to be learned about problem gambling, funds
  will be allocated for research and evaluation.
  Anyone interested in learning about current treatment for
  problem gambling should call:
  Eastern Region Drug Dependency, Sydney  (902) 563-2050
  Northern Region Drug Dependency, Pictou (902) 485-4335
  Central Region Drug Dependency, Halifax (902) 424-5623
  South Shore Drug Dependency, Lunenburg     (902) 634-8801
  Crosbie Centre Association, Kentville   (902) 678-7381
  South West Drug Dependency, Yarmouth    (902) 742-2406
  Contact: Lori MacLean 902-424-5025
  trp                Nov. 08, 1995