Those who run kick-the-habit programs for gambling addicts are asking Iowa lawmakers to stop skimming the money from their programs. Over the past two years, the number of clients served by the Iowa Gambling Treatment program has declined, and Janet Zwick of the Iowa Department of Public Health blames the decline on a cut in advertising, — a reduction caused when legislators shifted money away from gambling treatment to other priorities.The Gambling Treatment program completely cut out radio and print advertising when its budget was cut. Iowa law requires that three-tenths of a percent of all gambling profits to the state to be set aside for gambling treatment, but legislators have been siphoning off some of that money for other programs, like the Veteran’s Home in Marshalltown and substance abuse treatment. As a result, private gambling treatment programs are seeing a dramatic increase in clients. The Eastern Iowa Center for Problem Gambling in Davenport had 900 clients last year, and Jan Meisenbach (my’-zen-bawk), the center’s director, says they could help even more if the state came through with the money.Meisenbach says Iowa doesn’t have inpatient gambling treatment programs, and severe gambling addicts are forced to go to other states, like Minnesota, to get the help they need. In the year 2000, the state’s Gambling Treatment program helped a record one-thousand-53 Iowans. Last year, due to budget constraints, it served only eight-hundred-42.
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