NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Insights from NCRG conference session moderator: Ken Winters, Ph.D.

Here is what has impressed me about this year's gambling conference: Our scientific understanding of disordered gambling has come a long way, yet we still have such a long way to go.

The conference is now in the third quarter of a 4-quarter event. I have now listened to several talks, been involved in several informal, small discussions with colleagues, and had time to consider the eminence of the conference presenters in light of previous conferences.

The problem gambling field has matured to a most impressive level. We know so much more than just a few years ago -- such as the course of gambling behaviors, the role of natural recovery, what treatment models work, the possible role of genetics, and how to and how not to measure gambling's social impacts. More gambling researchers are scoring scientific touchdowns than ever before.

But an annoying issue remains. This growing collective knowledge is not yet significantly impacting clinical work. Clinicians are not maximally benefiting from the fruits of the research. More knowledge is great, but how can it be applied?

The substance abuse field has suffered this annoyance. They responded by getting their institute, NIDA, to create and fund the Clinical Trials Network, a concerted effort to get researchers to work with and help treatment providers.

Soon, we will deserve our own version of a Clinical Trials Network initiative.

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