When I wrote about Z…
When I wrote about Zell Miller earlier, I mentioned that he brought that regressive tax, the lottery, to Georgia. If you read that, then you know I don’t think it’s a good idea. One of the things that pro-lottery folks do to try to make the lottery more palatable is to say that money will be set aside for funding programs like Gambler’s Anonymous and other self-help groups. In Oregon, they’re finding out that they have more of a problem than they predicted.

PORTLAND (AP) – Record numbers of Oregonians are seeking help for gambling addictions, threatening to overflow the state’s free treatment program, health officials say.

“For the first time, we don’t have enough money to meet the growing demand,” said Jeffrey Marotta, a clinical psychologist who manages problem gambling services for the state Department of Human Services. “We kind of hit a ceiling.”

He said more than 1,500 gamblers – with debts averaging more than $19,000 – enrolled in the program in fiscal 2003 and that there are waiting lists in some areas.

And you can’t just measure the cost in dollars.

Marotta said clients average 44 years of age, with a household income of more than $39,000. A majority work full time and 70 percent play video poker.

About one in four seeking treatment said gambling cost them a marriage or other significant relationship. An equal number said they committed illegal acts to pay for their habit.

Making it easier for addicts to ruin their lives and the lives of their families is somehow an equitable balance to folks who try to get the lottery into their state. Thanks, folks.

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