I am a Research Analyst with the Health Research Board in Dublin since 2008. I work on the National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS) which is the national epidemiological surveillance database that records and reports on treated problem drug and alcohol use in Ireland. Data from the NDTRS has been used for this study. Research interests include trends in drug and alcohol treatment over time.
Profile of cases accessing gambling treatment in Ireland using national treatment surveillance data 2008 to 2019
Aims An identifiable proportion of individuals who gamble experience significant problems as a consequence of gambling. Globally, problem gambling prevalence is estimated at between 0.1% and 5.8%. Gambling may have negative impacts for those who gamble; including physical and psychological health, social functioning and may also impact those around them. There is a need to better understand treatment uptake with several known barriers and only a small proportion seeking treatment. This is the first Irish national study using routinely gathered health surveillance data to describe treated problem gambling. Results will inform service policy and planning.
Methods Secondary analysis of cases treated for problem gambling collected by the National Drug Treatment Reporting System were analysed. Included were cases resident in Ireland entering treatment between 2008 and 2019 (n=2,999). Variables of interest included service types accessed, demographics, and socioeconomic information, referral and assessment details, current problems (up to five) and treatment history. Results The majority (93.8%) were male. One fifth (20.9%) lived with dependent children, while 7.4% were homelessness. There were high levels of employment (35.4%) and formal education qualifications (53.8%). Problem gambling frequently co-occurred with substance addiction problems (47.3%), including alcohol (82.4%), cannabis (30.4%), cocaine (25.0%) and benzodiazepines (9.4%).The majority were treated at inpatient settings (56.1%) with many self-referrals (46.3%).
Conclusions This study provides valuable national insights into treated problem gambling. Monitoring and surveillance can play a crucial role in measuring the successful efforts and help inform planning and treatment. The findings may have implications for treatment pathways