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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 4 April 2008

Recommendations on problem gambling and other addictions


International Advisory Panel’s Recommendations on Problem Gambling and Other Addictions
Singapore’s proactive and coordinated approach in dealing with problem gambling and other addictions was commended by the International Advisory Panel (IAP).
Amongst its recommendations, the IAP highlighted that this approach should continue to be the key focus of our national strategy to tackle problem gambling and other harmful addictions.
The IAP was set up jointly by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) to advise the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and the National Addictions Management Centre (NAMC) on issues related to problem gambling and other addictions. The IAP convened its inaugural meeting in Singapore on 5 -7 December 2007.
In its report submitted to the MOH and NCPG, the IAP recommended the following focus areas:

a. Emphasis on public education and preventive efforts in addressing problem gambling;
b. Joint capability building and sharing of resources in counselling and treatment; 
c. Coordination and collaboration among various agencies in data collection and evaluation; and
d. Focus on research in problem gambling and other addictions

MOH and NCPG have accepted these recommendations and will work together with the relevant agencies on the implementation details. It will be an integrated approach aimed at strengthening existing addictions management programmes and building greater capabilities in preventive education, manpower and physical infrastructure.
Follow Up Actions
Building Capability for Problem Gambling
In the coming months, the NCPG will partner MCYS and MOH, particularly CAMP, in building capability for problem gambling services and research. NCPG’s priority would be on training for professionals and frontline staff in the community and social service agencies; as well as specialised training and attachment with overseas problem gambling service providers for designated agencies. It will also focus its research agenda on problem gambling among the youth and elderly.
Development of Medical Services and Capabilities for Addiction Management
The immediate focus will be to extend and strengthen existing addictions management services under the Community Addictions Management Programme (CAMP).
In this initial phase, the focus will be on the following:

a. Build-up of the necessary expertise in addictions management
b. Evaluate and fine-tune existing treatment programmes
c. Put in place new management programmes, if necessary
d. Review infrastructure needs
e. Identify key areas for research on addictions management

A planning team to be led by the Institute of Mental Health will be appointed by mid-2008 to drive and monitor the development of clinical services, manpower capability and infrastructure for addictions management in Singapore.
The IAP will continue to play an advisory role during this phase. The panel plans to meet again in the second half of 2008.
More details of the IAP recommendations, Terms of Reference and list of members can be found in the enclosed documents.
4 APRIL 2008

Source: Press Release 4 Apr 208

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