Connecticut group raising awareness of gambling addiction among veterans

March 28, 2024 2:32 PM
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  • Mia Doyle, Special to CDC Gaming Reports
March 28, 2024 2:32 PM

On Tuesday, recovering gambling addicts shared their stories at Amplify, a recovery center in Glastonbury, Connecticut. The event, “Veteran Gambling: A Silent Struggle,” featured presentations and a panel discussion with clinicians and individuals in recovery.

Notably, a presentation was given by Dave Yeager, a recovering addict and host of FALL IN, a podcast dedicated to veterans and service personnel affected by problem gambling. Yeager, a U.S. Army veteran and recovery coach for Kindbridge Behavioral Health, shared the story of the first time he gambled while stationed in Korea.

“All of the things I was going through in that moment just went, they were gone. And I thought, ‘Wow, this feels good.’ I started to feel the urge, the pull, I started to feel like I couldn’t stay away from this room,” shared Yeager.

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Gambling addiction is a growing problem in the U.S. and is particularly prevalent among veterans and active-duty service members. Amplify’s program coordinator, David Ruella, shed light on the challenges faced by military members when it comes to mental health and trauma. “It’s very important that we kind-of tackle those from the forefront,” he said.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) was also in attendance at the event. “[We want to help] before they succumb to debt and potential breakup of families, ruined careers and even suicide,” commented Blumenthal.

In the U.S., March is recognized as Problem Gambling Awareness Month . The purpose of this month-long campaign, launched by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), is to raise awareness of the risks associated with gambling and encourage those struggling to seek support.