Kentucky Substance Abuse Center Offers First-of-Its-Kind Gambling Treatment

Written By J.R. Duren on December 22, 2022
Kentucky focuses on special gambling addiction treatment

Amid a growing number of addicted and problem gamblers, a substance abuse center in Owensboro, Kentucky, is taking action.

This week, the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling announced Boulware Mission will be the first substance abuse center in the state to offer outpatient and residential gambling addiction treatment.

RonSonLyn Clark, Boulware’s addiction recovery program coordinator, said the program comes at just the right time. “The growing issue of gambling addiction in Kentucky led to the decision to offer this service,” Clark said in a statement.

The mission will offer the program to men ages 18 to 75.

Mission’s gambling addiction treatment part of bigger goal of empowerment

Boulware is a staple in the Owensboro area. The mission opened more than 100 years ago. Since then, its programs have helped thousands of area residents work through substance abuse issues.

Recently, the mission has become an alternative to incarceration. The organization’s website notes:

“Over the years, the work of the Mission has adapted many times in order to meet the greatest needs of the community. As the Mission’s drug and alcohol treatment program proved successful, it started to gain attention from the local courts and judges began sending individuals to treatment and services at the Mission in lieu of incarceration.”

Gambling outpatient and residential programs mesh well with what the mission already does. In addition to helping gamblers through their addiction, the mission provides services such as:

  • Financial management
  • Academic education
  • Employment training
  • Behavioral training

Individuals who enter the program will not only work with a licensed professional to understand and overcome their addiction. Also, they’ll be equipped with crucial life skills that will help them be, as the mission puts it, an “independent, contributing” member of the community.

Also of note is the fact that certain individuals can avoid jail time by participating in Boulware’s programs. While the mission only offers that alternative for substance abuse, it’s possible problem gamblers could participate.

Several counties around the country have launched gambling addiction programs that local courts use as an alternative to incarceration. In October, Ohio’s Cuyahoga County launched a problem gambling addiction program that clears gamblers of gambling-related crimes if they complete the program.

Gambling addiction treatment comes as sports betting grows

Sports betting is not legal in Kentucky, but Gov. Andy Beshear has said he fully supports legalizing it in the Bluegrass State.

Though it’s illegal to place a sports bet in the state, Owensboro residents can simply cross the border into Indiana and choose one of 14 online sports betting apps. In fact, six of the seven states that border Kentucky offer sports betting.

Kentucky residents struggling with a gambling addiction can get help by calling 1-800-GAMBLER. Also, they can contact the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling at 502-223-1823.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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