NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Dozens of high school students participated in a one-day gambling addiction seminar on Wednesday held at the Sandilands Rehabilitation (SRC) activity centre.
The event, spearheaded by the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) and SRC, is aimed at providing preventative steps to avoid addictive habits.
Participating schools included Government High School, C.I Gibson, Galilee Academy and Doris Johnson.
Paulette Bowe, Senior Nursing Officer and Chairperson of the Gambling Addiction Awareness Program asserted that while the majority of its outreach has been focused on spreading awareness among adults, organizers wanted to target young Bahamians in an effort to stem the tide of addictive habits.
“I always feel that retention is always better than cure and it’s always easier for a person who starts gambling at an early age to become addicted than an older person. So, if we can nip this at the bud; treatment cases for these incidents will be far less because we can maybe stop some persons from becoming addicted,” Bowe said.
Clint Watson, Newsroom Director at Eyewitness News was one of two speakers at yesterday’s seminar.
Watson conducted an interactive session with the students which focused on healthy life habits and how to partake in recreational activities with moderation.
“An addiction is something that controls you. Something that you can’t do without,” Watson shared.
“These are the factors that you have to consider when we talk about addiction. Because having something is not necessarily the issues; the problem is when that something controls your ability to function.
“When we talk about gambling and it becoming an addiction, we are referring to not allowing it to control you, our money, decision making, prioritizing and it controls your ability to function normally.”
Three high school seniors, Tekhai Miller, Christian Outten and Taiwan Forbes shared what they learnt during the seminar.
“The experience was pretty great,” Miller, an 11th-grade student at Galilee Academy said.
“I learnt that gambling addiction can really mess u your future by breaking up your families or messing up your financial situation.
“I also learnt that gambling is a huge risk.”
“I feel persons should not do it because it really tears apart families and finances,” said Outten, a 10th-grade student at Doris Johnson.
“I feel encouraged to stay away from addictive behaviour, no matter what the recreational activity is. After participating in this seminar, I know that at the end of the day I want to learn and be successful in life and I want to make sure that my family is fed and that they don’t have to lose any of their monies from gambling.”
“I learnt that gambling is not a good habit and that it can quickly become an addition I learnt that it’s not necessarily bad to gamble but you just have to know how to control what you are doing,” said Taiwan Forbes, a 10th-grade student at Doris Johnson.
PHA and SRC have partnered with The Bahamas Gaming Operators Association to undertake widespread awareness on the dangers of gambling addiction and where persons who suffer from gambling addiction can seek help.