Christian doctors support initiative to address problem gambling

Christian doctors support initiative to address problem gambling

The Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship of Australia (CMDFA) says it is deeply concerned about the number of people with gambling problems across Australia.

This is estimated to be around 90,000.

For some, gambling is a destructive addiction. Its effects extend beyond the individual to his or family, and include depression, relationship breakdown, bankruptcy, lowered productivity, job loss, suicide and criminal behaviour.

The most vulnerable in our society, including the poor, women and children, are among those most affected. Even more alarming is the figure that for each and every one of these problem gamblers an additional five to ten people are adversely affected in a direct way by their gambling.

Dr Michael Burke, the executive officer of the CMDFA, said, “Problem gambling is a serious public heath issue that is damaging the lives of more and more Australians.

“People with problem gambling can experience stress-related physical and psychological illnesses.

“Problem gambling may lead to inability to afford basic necessities of everyday life such as food, housing, transport, medications and health services. Doctors are regularly seeing the effects of problem gambling in the lives of their patients.”

CMDFA welcomed the commitment the Federal Government has made to tackle problem gambling, for example through a pre-commitment scheme. Many gamblers, particularly people with gambling problems, do not set themselves affordable limits. Being able to set time and money limits before they start gambling on pokies is one strategy that can help problem gamblers.

CMDFA urged the federal parliament not to give in to lobbying by those who want to water down these reforms. It joined the calls of many concerned community organisations in support of this important legislation of pre-commitment strategy as a key component in addressing the many adverse outcomes of problem gambling.

The Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship of Australia (CMDFA) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 600 Australian doctor, dentist and health worker members. A not for profit incorporated association it is linked to over fifty similar bodies in other countries throughout the world. The CMDFA encourages Christian doctors, dentists and health workers to pursue the highest ethical standards in professional life.

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