Gambling is a form of recreation for most people. For some, however, gambling is a disorder with behaviors very similar to alcohol, nicotine or opioid addiction.
Research shows that gambling among youth is on the rise and can take many forms, such as betting on sporting events, games of chance, and easily accessible gambling on the internet. The risks associated with substance use among youth are well known. Much less is known, however, about the potential risks associated with gambling among youth.
Past 30-day gambling rates among Washington County youth are higher than past 30-day tobacco, marijuana, illicit drugs and, in most cases, alcohol use rates. In addition, survey research shows that youth who gamble regularly are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as substance use, and are also more likely to have thoughts of suicide. Comprehensive efforts to inform and educate must include information on gambling and the associated risks.