Eric Pruess’ trip to Las Vegas is for business, not pleasure as he attends a major conference on problem gambling. He says the conference happens every three years and includes 550 people from around the world as they discuss the latest research information on gambling and risk taking.
Pruess hopes to learn some new things at the conference. “Really hoping to bring back some tidbits of information or ideas that we can bring back and hopefully discuss here and look to implement to help Iowans who might be struggling,” Pruess says. He will also be sharing information on Iowa’s Gambling Treatment Program along with UNI researcher Ki Park.
“What we’ve found for Iowans who are involved in our Gambling Treatment Program, that when they are involved in these recovery support services that we offer…we fund 10 providers that cover all 99 counties in Iowa. When they are involved in recovery support service or they are involved in e-therapy — we call it distance treatment — that we are really seeing some good outcomes for them,” according to Pruess. He says the Iowa program shows how getting people into treatment can help them deal with their gambling issues.
“They tend to engage faster and stay in treatment longer which all points to better treatment outcomes,” Pruess says. “And when they leave treatment, these individuals are able to continue on their recovery path and not relapse into the gambling behaviors that were causing them problems.” He is pleased that the success of Iowa’s program gets attention.
He says Iowa is one of the gambling treatment program’s that’s looked up to, and Pruess credits those before him that got thing going and ensured that Iowa uses the latest methods. Iowa provides gambling treatment through its 1-800-BETSOFF program.