NORWAY — Healthy Oxford Hills, a project of Stephens Memorial Hospital, along with 10 other Healthy Maine Partnerships from around the state, have been chosen by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services to spread awareness about the risks of problem gambling and gambling addiction. The focus of this work, beginning in 2012, concerns all types of gambling, including lottery tickets and online games and promotes responsible gaming.

A free training session on responsible and problem gambling will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at the Harper Conference Center. Breakfast will be served and is sponsored by the Oxford Casino.

Trainers from Merrimack River Medical Services will present on the signs of problem gambling, treatment options and available resources for help. Attendees will also learn about self exclusion, the action that a person can take to ban themselves from entering all casinos in Maine for a specific period of time. Currently, a person may only self-exclude at one of the casino locations, but soon this service will be available at additional locations around the state, including Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway.

Research from the National Council on Problem Gambling finds that 2 to 3 percent of the U.S. population will have a gambling problem in any given year, yet only a fraction of those people seek out services such as treatment and self-help recovery programs.

The upcoming training is beneficial for medical staff, behavioral health clinicians, social workers, law enforcement, teachers and others since problem gambling is sometimes related to other health issues. For more information or to register, call Healthy Oxford Hills at 739-6222.

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