NETWORKING IN A GAMBLING GROWING CONTEST:THEEXPERIENCE OF A PUBLIC SERVICE ON A LOW COST SCALE.The ong>experienceong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Social Service Agency for Drug Addiction(SerT via Albenga- ASL Milan – Italy)The interest ong>ofong> Milan SerTs in new addictions starts in 1999, thanks to aresearch group ong>ofong> ASL specialists that used to work on ong>theong> rating incidence ong>ofong>gambling, internet, shopping and mobile phone addiction in ong>theong> general casesurvey. Gambling surfaces as a problem more and more common in ong>theong>Medical Services, going with substance addiction and as an issue itself, too.Actually, until 2003 ong>theong>re hasn’t been a real solution to ong>theong>se problems, but onlya researching work with ong>theong> structures on ong>theong> territory (ong>publicong> and privatesystems, voluntary) in order to draw a map ong>ofong> ong>theong> existent resources (absolutelylow and weak) and researching project that want to better understand ong>theong>phenomena (about slot machine for example, becoming more and moreimportant at that period).This work, getting along with a strengong>theong>ned ong>experienceong> in ong>theong> addiction field,established ong>theong> magic and winning formula to gamble…with no budget: ong>theong>highest employment ong>ofong> ong>theong> resources already existent in oong>theong>r fields and a closenet working.It’s only when ong>theong> Laducer’s convention (Varese 2003, organised by ASL- LocalSanitary Agency) takes place that our Service obtains a legitimation to giveclinic answers to gamblers. More prong>ofong>essional subjects have a role in ong>theong>“game” beyond ong>theong> psychologist: this leads to ong>theong> birth ong>ofong> a small staff thatwants to face ong>theong> problem.To provide an appropriate solution to ong>theong> changing ong>ofong> ong>theong> patients’ typology thatused to come to ong>theong> Service, it was necessary, as in any changing process, tomatch three elements: a strong motivation, some inner resources (operatorswith interest and pretty good prong>ofong>essional competence), and everything was okat this step! and some specific outer resources (experimental projects fortraining and supervising ong>theong> particular cases; some more staff, considering ong>theong>uncertain situation ong>ofong> ong>theong> Service). This was ong>theong> point!We had to create some extra resources that, as ong>ofong>ten happens amongst peopleinvolved in a helping and caring relationship, come from ong>theong> abilities ong>ofong> makingfriendly and pleasant bonds, in which ong>theong> operators had ong>theong> chance to compareand share ideas.The ong>experienceong> in ong>theong> small group ong>ofong> psychoong>theong>rapists led by Laduceur hasbeen my opportunity to set closer links with ong>theong> Varese staff and ong>theong> Swiss one.As a consequence ong>ofong> this link, ong>theong> clinic interview became ong>theong> “no budget”instrument to face togeong>theong>r new cases, first in Varese, ong>theong> year after in
Mendrisio. It was ong>theong> international moment ong>ofong> exchanging ong>experienceong>s ong>ofong>training and information, beyond clinic, plus ong>theong> creation ong>ofong> new projects.Beside this, our Service promoted net meeting with all voluntary and socialprivate association in Milan that dealt with gambling and might work with ourSerT.Even more relevant was ong>theong> involvement in ong>theong> Lombard Regional Group, thatmade us aware more ong>ofong> our limits than ong>theong> resources, but, at least, it remindedus our need ong>ofong> having an institutional representative!!!AND association and ong>theong> Swiss information net led by doctor Carlevaro hasbecome essential references in comparing ong>theong> work.Last year our Service took care ong>ofong> 25 patients, providing sustaining treatmentsor psychoong>theong>rapies, social and legal assistance, medical and pharmacologicalengagements (50 cases since 2005), thanks to ong>theong> part-time activity ong>ofong> 2psychologists, 2 social assistants and a doctor , beyond a psychiatricconsultation coming from anoong>theong>r centre.Mainly, our work proceeds out ong>ofong> SerT, linked to ASL Services (Family PlanningClinics, Family Therapy Centres, Centres for Alchoolists), hospitals, SocialPsychiatry, Social Private and Voluntary Services, both at a communityresidential level and at an educative one on ong>theong> territory; for ong>theong> sustaining in aresidential home and ong>theong> controlled financial administration, ong>theong>rapeutic groupsfor gamblers and ong>theong>ir families, self help groups, etc…We provide many telephonic consultation, we inform and address towards oong>theong>rresources, we listen individuals and families in order to give suggestions evenwhen ong>theong>y are not ready to be engaged.Getting in touch with ong>theong> gambler’s uneasiness drew new representations ong>ofong> adisease that is closer to our reality than what we imagine and it forced us infinding new solutions, both in ong>theong> prevention field and in ong>theong> ong>theong>rapeutic one,about all ong>theong> addiction, also to ong>theong> substances. It made us thinking aboutaddiction as a emerging and cross-aging phenomena ,transversal to all socialclasses.The number ong>ofong> cases met till here is quite small ,this depending on littleadvertising ong>ofong> what our Service could ong>ofong>fer ; on ong>theong> contrary ong>theong> problem risesup more and more dramatically and makes us suspect about a hidden side stillto notice. Our strength until here have been small, but ong>theong> net multiplied ourresources and let us provide ong>theong> patients shared interventions. Beyond, thischanging and touching ong>experienceong> made us grow on ong>theong> prong>ofong>essional side.Unexpectedly, we received a “signal” ong>ofong> changing from ong>theong> political authority ong>ofong>ong>theong> ong>serviceong>s. Did ong>theong> management understand and get ong>theong> signals that ong>theong>ong>serviceong>s in Milan sent?
e able to get ong>theong>m ong>publicong> and sharing as our contribution to prevention, careand ong>theong>rapy.And finally we could play this match with some more winning card!!!