National Addictions Awareness Week (NAAW) was November 21-27 this year. The event, as said by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, is “about collaborating as a community to make change happen. We want to present Canadians with ways to reassess the way they think about substance use and people who use drugs.” This years awareness week focused on a theme of Driving Change Together.
To take part in this years NAAW, GAP highlighted some key facts about gambling and screen use addiction to raise awareness of the effects gambling and excess screen time can have on us. To re-cap, we’re putting all these facts below!
1. Young adults most at risk
University students are most at risk as they experience leaving home for the first time and often have access to more money via student loans and credit. Within this demographic, young adult men are significantly more likely to develop a gambling problem than women.
Source: Responsible Gambling Council
2. Screen time for children
This number is just an average… Some children spend upwards of 13 hours of their day watching screens. Screen time for kids is typically spent on social media and games, scrolling and scrolling. This behaviour seems to mimic that of slot machines, an addictive activity that could lead to a gambling addiction in the future.
Source: Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, 2021
3. Gambling a catalyst for illegal activity
Although gambling is often seen as a harmless and fun activity, it can have serious consequences such as criminal activity and arrests. The most common type of crime associated with gambling is non-violent and financially motivated. These crimes are typically sought out in order to pay off debts or to fuel a gambling addiction.
Source: Gambling Research Exchange Ontario
4. Saskatchewan residents at high risk
The figure above translates to roughly 1000 Saskatchewan residents being at risk for developing a gambling addiction. Numbers are often under-reported in the province as there is still such a stigma associated with gambling addiction, meaning this number is likely higher.
Source: AGRI, 2021
5. Gambling and suicide
Those with a gambling addiction are far more likely to attempt suicide than those with any other substance use disorder. Because gambling is more of a hidden addiction, when it is discovered, it’s usually too late to repair relationships, finances and more, making the stress unbearable for some.
Source: Journal of Behavioural Addictions, 2018
If you or a loved one are struggling with gambling related harm, contact the Saskatchewan Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-306-6789.
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