Thursday 17 January 2019

Calls to resource regional task force to tackle gambling

A local councillor has called on the HSE to resource regional drug and alcohol task forces to deal with issues around addiction to gambling.

Cllr Adrian Henchy (FF) raised the issue at the latest meeting of the Regional Health Forum. Cllr Henchy told the Fingal Independent: 'I have consistently raised this issue at HSE meetings given the rise in recent years in gambling and particularly now given the easy access across social media platforms.

'Unfortunately, similar to alcohol and drugs, a percentage of society goes on to develop serious problems around gambling and these problems can be both devastating not only for the gambler but for their wider circle of family and friends.'

Cllr Henchy's motion to the Regional Health Forum stated: 'In welcoming the very brave and visionary decision by the GAA at their recent congress to ban the advertising of gambling companies in all GAA activities, what steps are the HSE taking around the issue of gambling and its adverse effects on some individuals and are the HSE open to the possibility of gambling being included alongside alcohol and drugs as a primary addiction and to include the treatment of gambling addiction along similar pathways as alcohol and drugs?'

In response, the HSE advised that the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland are currently working on a draft position paper on the issue of Gambling.

The HSE wrote last year on behalf of the Regional Health Forum members to the Department of Health to raise the issue of the absence of a comprehensive strategy dealing with gambling.

A response to this was circulated to members where the Minister advised that 'people who present to the HSE for addiction treatment for gambling are offered the same range of interventions as those who present with a drug and alcohol addiction, or a mental health concern, including an initial assessment, a comprehensive assessment and individual counselling'.

Fingal Independent