Hey, gambling gurus: next time you're tempted, put down the dice and pick up the phone.
New York State has upped the ante on addiction by announcing the launch of a 24/7 help hotline that will assist those coping with drug, alcohol and gambling problems.
The new hotline, 1-877-8-HOPENY, is a combination of two formerly distinct help lines, one for gambling addiction and another for substance abuse. Last year, clinical professionals at the two hotlines took more than 25,000 calls.
The integrated hot line is indicative of the state's belief in the legitimacy of gambling addiction as an illness on par with substance abuse. Gambling addiction was once handled by the New York State Department of Mental Health, but is now part of the state's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).
"Addiction is a chronic illness that not only affects the individual, but impacts their family, loved ones and the community," OASAS Commissioner Karen Carpenter-Palumbo said.
More than 2.5 million New Yorkers suffer from some form of drug, alcohol or gambling addiction, Commissioner Palumbo said.
1-877-8-HOPENY will launch Feb.1.