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Louisiana Treatment Center is a Model for State-funded Programs

by: Institute Staff | Jun 8, 2010

Inpatient treatment programs have been helping people with substance-use disorders for decades, but only recently have they been used in the treatment of pathological gambling. The Louisiana Center of Recovery (CORE) was one of the first inpatient treatment facilities dedicated to treating disordered gambling. The following is an excerpt from the article, “Louisiana Treatment Center is a Model for State-Funded Programs,” which was originally published in the spring 2010 edition of Responsible Gaming Quarterly.

In June of 1999, the state of Louisiana’s Office for Addictive Disorders, with support from the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling and the state’s casinos and gaming companies, opened a one-of-a-kind residential treatment center for those suffering from pathological gambling. It was called the Center of Recovery (CORE) and, at that time, was the only state-funded center with a primary focus on treating gambling disorders.

“There was a visionary thinker, Jake Hadley, in the Office for Addictive Disorders, and he felt that pathological gambling was a major public health concern for the citizens of Louisiana,” said CORE executive director Reece Middleton. “He wanted to address the problem in a proactive fashion, and thought those affected would benefit most from a residential treatment facility.”

Eleven years later, CORE is still going strong. Louisiana residents who are interested in seeking treatment at the 21-bed facility can do so free of charge, and non-residents can receive the standard 36-day round of treatment for just $6,000. Middleton says that the low costs are part of CORE’s mission of helping people with a problem and a result of the center’s status as a 501(c)3 organization. In the last 10 years, CORE has received referrals from 30 other states and three foreign countries.

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The residents’ therapeutic process includes group, individual and family therapy, a financial inventory, development of plans for restitution, including gambling debts, involvement in community activities, help with the maintenance of the facility, major life analysis and planned recreational activities. Residents also are strongly advised to become involved in 12-step programs, such as Gamblers Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and other programs, as needed. Middleton noted that CORE provides transportation to 12-step meetings and is disinclined to work with anyone who rejects this aspect of their treatment.

“Gamblers tend to have a lot of energy, so we try to help them channel that energy into positive activities,” Middleton said.

CORE has proven to be successful for most of the patients that complete the treatment regimen. An outcome study performed by Behavioral Analysis Incorporated at Louisiana Tech University found that “treatment at CORE is considered successful, as evidenced by the fact that a majority of the clients that complete treatment are able to maintain abstinence from gambling behavior.”

CORE graduates also report a marked improvement in their overall quality-of-life. When CORE staff surveyed former residents, they found that 70 percent of those who completed treatment had improved family relationships, 79 percent experienced improvements in their financial status and 60 percent saw their relationships with employers improve.

Perhaps the greatest metric for the success of CORE is that it has become a model for other state and tribal-funded residential gambling disorder treatment facilities across the country, including Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa.

For more information about the Louisiana CORE facility, please visit the CORE website and read the full Responsible Gaming Quarterly article on pages 16-17 of the spring 2010 edition. Do you have thoughts or questions about this article? Please share them in the comments section below.

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