Fayetteville State University’s 21st Century Community Learning Center’s Middle School Students Spread Word About Gambling

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and Fayetteville State University’s 21st Century Community Learning Center has been building awareness at Douglas Byrd Middle by changing student beliefs, attitudes and behaviors towards gambling by teaching Stacked Deck, an evidence-based problem gambling curriculum funded by the NC Problem Gambling Program.

The Stacked Deck curriculum introduces students to the risk factors as well as warning signs and symptoms of problem gambling. The curriculum also promotes healthy decision-making. Take-home letters and posters and PSA’s created by the students educate family and community members on problem gambling and how to engage in services if necessary.

Students have created posters that were hung throughout Douglas Byrd Middle School to let teachers, students and parents know that there is an epidemic with problem gambling. Also, students have passed out literature at parent events during Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

Problem gambling, commonly referred to as a gambling addiction and clinically recognized as a gambling disorder, affects people of all ages, from adolescents as young as 10 to adults in their senior years. It is not a matter of being irresponsible, it is an addiction rooted in the brain just as are the drug and alcohol addictions in millions of people.

The National Council on Problem Gambling report 1% of U.S. adults meet the criteria for pathological gambling, and another 2-3% are considered problem gamblers. Additionally, research has shown that teenagers and college-aged young adults are more impulsive and at a higher risk for developing gambling disorders than adults.

Students with gambling problems are more likely to use tobacco and use drugs and alcohol. Many students currently in treatment for substance abuse may also have a gambling problem. What has been labeled the “hidden addiction” many times can only be exposed through problem gambling screening tools that are available for clinicians.

According to Vernordra Haynie, a facilitator of the curriculum, “Students have been excited to learn about gambling and the associated problems.  They know that adults as well as other students struggle with this grave problem and they have been eager to make a difference by creating awareness.

The North Carolina Problem Gambling Program was established to provide and support effective problem gambling prevention, education, outreach and treatment programs throughout the state. For more information about the free treatment services visit www.morethanagamenc.com or call the hotline at (877) 718-5543. If you have any questions regarding the prevention services, reach out to Alison Drain at (919) 800-8482 or alison.drain@dhhs.nc.gov.

The Office of College Access and Success Programs’ mission is to encourage and assist youth who are traditionally under-represented in post-secondary education with preparation for, entry into, and completion of a post-secondary education.   The Office is comprised of federally funded programs that include 21st Century Community Learning Centers, GEAR UP, TRIO Talent Search, TRIO Upward Bound, and TRIO Upward Bound Math & Science.

For additional information about the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, please visit www.uncfsu.edu/cap or call 910-672-1034.

Fayetteville State University is a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina and the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state, having been founded in 1867. FSU offers degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. With more than 6,200 students, Fayetteville State University is among the most diverse institutions in the nation. Chancellor James A. Anderson is the 11th chief executive officer.