Presentation by: Sean Sullivan
Conference: Cutting Edge Conference 2005
Date: September 2005
Title: An irrelevant issue? AOD clients who present with gambling issues
Problem gamblers often present with co-existing alcohol and other drug problems, while AOD clients may present with coexisting gambling problems. Higher risk gambling is often provided in premises licensed for the sale of alcohol. Existing, though sparse, evidence indicates that at least one in ten AOD clients may have a gambling problem, and it could be argued that may be sufficient to warrant consideration in any AOD treatment plan. At the Cutting Edge 2000 conference, the presenter reported upon a study with two AOD services to screen for problem gambling that ultimately proved to be unsuccessful, suggesting that AOD services may not have then been motivated to include problem gambling within their interventions. Since then, the Ministry of Health has assumed responsibility for problem gambling harm minimisation, and has identified in its strategic plan, the opportunity for non-gambling treatment specialist health services to identify and provide early and brief interventions.

As part of larger project, 1,000 AOD clients throughout New Zealand are currently in the process of participating in a screening survey to identify whether they are also adversely affected by gambling. Feedback is also being sought from AOD practitioners as to their perceptions, and those reported by their clients, of the inclusion of gambling in their treatment. Findings to date will be reported as to prevalence of problem gambling, attitudes of clients and practitioners to inclusion of problem gambling into AOD triage screens, and provision by AOD practitioners of brief interventions for problem gambling alongside AOD focussed treatment.