Oregon has expanded its nationally recognized gambling-treatment services with the opening of the state's first inpatient facility. Within a week of opening its doors, the new facility was filled to capacity and had a growing waiting list.
The new Salem facility, at 3325 Harold Dr. N.E., strengthens a statewide network that already included 27 outpatient treatment clinics, short-term crisis/respite centers in Grants Pass and St. Helens and a home-study program for persons with less severe problems.
"Oregon's program is recognized as one of the nation's most comprehensive," Jeff Marotta, problem gambling services manager in the Oregon Department of Human Services, said last week. "We believe the new facility is the West Coast's only residential treatment program specifically designed to help pathological gamblers."
The treatment program is part of the department's services promoting personal health and public safety by helping Oregonians overcome addictions through treatment.
Marotta said he knows of only one other state — Louisiana — that has state-financed residential treatment for persons with severe gambling addictions. Other residential treatment options exist but they are usually outside of the financial reach of problem gamblers and not specifically designed for them, he said.
Treatment in the state-managed program is offered at no cost to the individual, because it is paid for by 1 percent of Oregon Lottery revenues. However, the residential program will levy a nominal charge for recreational outings and other expenses that the program doesn't cover. (The outings are part of redirecting participants' recreation to non-gambling pursuits.)
The new Salem facility is being operated by Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. Cascadia added a 1,750-square-foot wing to its existing Salem facility that delivers residential services for alcohol and other drug addictions.
Marotta said inpatient treatment would typically last for 30 days, although actual length would depend on individual needs. Admission to the inpatient facility requires a referral from one of Oregon's outpatient programs and is reserved for those with the most severe problems.
Six months after completing lottery-financed outpatient treatment, 81 percent of participants report they are gambling less or not at all. For the other 19 percent, Marotta said, there is now the possibility of finding help in residential care.
A survey by the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators showed that Oregon has the largest per-capita budget to prevent and treat problem gambling and the nation's most comprehensive program. Surveyed program elements include a toll-free helpline, counselor certification, treatment, school programs and research.
For more information, call the state's toll-free gambling helpline, 1-877-278-6766.