The 2009 Midwest Conference on Problem Gambling and Substance Abuse is underway in St. Louis, bringing together more than 200 addiction experts, treatment providers, and representatives of the gambling industry. Experts taking part in this event come from the five-state region of Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.
Candace Peters, Director of Training at the University of Iowa’s Prairieland Addiction Technology Transfer Center and a member of the Midwest Consortium on Problem Gambling and Substance Abuse, says there is quite a bit of ground to cover during this three-day gathering.
“Presenters will discuss a variety of issues from responsibility regarding treatment for problem gambling and substance abuse,” said Peters in an interview with the Missourinet. “They’ll discuss clinician treatment skill building and various issues that surround problem gambling and substance abuse.”
Peters insists solving problems requires a community effort.
“From a national perspective and from extensive research we understand that it’s essential that we work together on multiple platforms – bringing industry, research, and treatment together for problem gambling and substance abuse,” said Peters.
While there might be some links between problem gambling and substance abuse, treatment efforts are guided by the person seeking assistance, so the conference focuses on providing skills to help people on the important individual basis.
“Everyone comes with their own needs, their own understanding, their own suffering – if you will,” said Peters. “The links research tells us, yes, there is some link between the two, however we don’t want to focus on that versus being able to treat the person for what they’re asking us to be able to assist them with.”
Peters says those leaving the conference will exit knowing the importance of a recovery community that includes research, treatment, and even what should be said by a greeter at a casino.
The conference wraps up Friday.