Gambling A Unique Problem For Addictions Worker

Monday, November 21, 2005 at 15:05



An addictions worker in La Ronge says problem gambling is making its presence felt in northern Saskatchewan.


Allison Ballantyne works at the Mamawetan-Churchill River Regional Health Authority’s addictions services unit.


She confirms gambling is a problem in the North and impacts people in much the same way drugs and alcohol do.


She says an employee from Mental Health Services helps her office with gambling cases, because he has specialized training in the field.


Ballantyne says northerners don’t view gambling addiction like they view drug and alcohol addiction.


She explains that since some forms of gambling are part of the traditional culture in the North, the line between problem gambling and recreational gambling can be blurry at times.


Other problems Ballantyne says her office is grappling with these days include the growing threat of prescription drug abuse.


She notes some people with drug and alcohol addictions are using prescription drugs — and even over-the-counter drugs — to fuel their habits.


Ballantyne and her staff held sober walks around La Ronge and some of the reserves yesterday to call attention to these and other issues.


This is National Addictions Awareness Week.