OREGON -- The Oregon Council on problem gambling dedicated March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month, to start a conversation about gambling problems.
Julie Hynes, the Senior Community Health Analyst for Lane County Public health said 80,000 Oregonians suffer from problem gambling. That equates to one out of every 38 adults.
Research shows a gambling addition is similar to other types of addition. Some signs may be someone spending more time and money than they have, or withdrawing from family and friends.
The Oregon Lottery created a grassroots campaign called "Have the Conversation" to open a dialogue about the issue.
Since 1992, one percent of profits from the Oregon Lottery has funded problem gambling treatment and prevention efforts throughout Oregon. In total, nearly $93 million in lottery funds has supported those services, with $5.7 million in 2017 alone, according to the Oregon Lottery.
"This month is really important because we want to erase the stigma that problem gambling is an issue that's not really important as a society," Hynes said. "We know in many cases people are just feeling very depressed and are really struggling with their gambling problem and we want them to know there is help and hope available."
Hynes said there are free and confidential resources available to individuals who suffer from a gambling addiction and their family members.