Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

 

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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
Problem Gambling Treatment Program


Issued: February 5, 2019
Link to full audit report 2018-S-39

Purpose
To determine whether the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) has sufficient treatment programs for problem gamblers. Our audit covered the period January 1, 2017 through September 12, 2018.

Background
OASAS oversees one of the nation’s largest addiction services systems, with approximately 1,600 prevention, treatment, and recovery programs, including, as of 2005, problem gambling treatment. OASAS offers services through 20 problem gambling-only outpatient programs, six inpatient Addiction Treatment Centers, and the Queens Center for Excellence, which provides education, awareness, and treatment services at 13 private providers throughout Queens County. OASAS also has a toll-free HOPEline, which provides callers with information and referrals. As of September 2018, individuals who call the HOPEline for problem gambling treatment are referred to the nearest OASAS outpatient program and to Gamblers Anonymous.

Key Findings

  • OASAS has not conducted a comprehensive needs assessment or social impact study to identify the number or location of individuals in need of problem gambling treatment services since 2006, even though four commercial casinos opened in New York State in 2013. Therefore, we could not determine whether OASAS has sufficient treatment programs available for those in
    need.
  • Of the State’s 62 counties, 40 do not have an OASAS problem gambling treatment program; for some areas, the nearest OASAS treatment program is more than one county away – and the distance may prohibit access to treatment. Although problem gambling treatment services may be available outside the OASAS system, OASAS does not have an accounting of these providers – or their location – and whether they accept clients regardless of their ability to pay.
  • OASAS is taking various steps to identify and address the need for problem gambling treatment programs statewide. Given the enormous cost gambling addiction exacts on individuals and families, it is important that OASAS continue these efforts.

Key Recommendations

  • Conduct a comprehensive needs assessment and social impact study for problem gambling.
  • Continue efforts to ensure problem gambling treatment programs (OASAS and approved providers) are reasonably accessible to all State residents regardless of their ability to pay.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest
Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services: Contracted Programs With Puerto Rican Organization to Motivate, Enlighten and Serve Addicts, Inc. (2015-S-24)
Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services: Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program: Provider Claiming of Depreciation Expenses (2015-S-84)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Brian Reilly
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236