The services of intervention, face-to-face counseling, education, outreach and referrals within the community for problem gamblers and their families was never offered in Reno before the opening of the Reno Problem Gambling Center in November, 2005. A few counselors and short-lived programs within other agencies had come and gone, but none were able to operate as nonprofit agencies with the ability to serve the entire community and answer only to their own Board of Directors. The Reno Problem Gambling Center (RPGC) is the first Center in Reno to be staffed entirely by expert, state-certified gambling counselors in a free-standing, centrally-located, warm and welcoming environment with an operating philosophy of offering help to everyone who comes through the door whether or not they have the ability to pay. The snapshot of the Reno-Sparks-Carson City area as a 24-hour community having a history of legalized gambling as the state’s number-one revenue sets the area up as a higher-risk environment for anyone prone to addiction.
The statistics measuring prevalence in our area show Nevada to be more than five times higher than the national average for problem and pathological gambling. If all the adults in our area who are at risk for a gambling problem showed up at our door at once, that would be a total of 25,000 people. We know that not all problem gamblers are aware of early intervention or any other kind of treatment available to them, and that is one reason why we don’t see all 25,000 gamblers and/or their family members at once. We do know that pathological gambling is also known as “the hidden addiction” and it is our goal to bring an increased awareness of the disorder, early intervention. responsible gambling and treatment for problem gamblers and their families to the knowledge of everyone in northern Nevada.
I am proud to be the Clinical Director and CEO of the RPGC. I work with excellent colleagues and staff and am guided by our expert Board of Directors. I commit to all our northern Nevada citizens that we offer the best of real hope and expert help for problem gamblers, families, the upcoming generations and all those who have been uninformed and underserved in our area. It is our intent to reach out and increase awareness through talks, trainings, and other community activities for all of those who do not yet understand the risks of gambling and the effect it may have on our community. Our Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) are offered day and night, to better reach the clients who work at many different hours. We offer assessment, treatment, service and referral for proper care to all who come to us with any questions or concerns. We have already helped more than 200 adults who have benefited from our treatment programs, and many of them have formed alliances, started support group meetings, continue to participate in our family aftercare program, and reach out to others to share their success stories and personally invite them to get the kind of help they received at our Center. We know the RPGC will grow and touch many more lives of Nevadans, and we look forward to partnering with businesses, schools, and individuals who will become a part of our plan to help northern Nevada be healthy.
Denise F. Quirk, MA. MFT, LADC, NCGC-11, CPGC-S