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I had the privilege of joining the Auckland Gambling practitioner’s joint agency meeting this week, which was hosted by TUPU Problem Gambling Services in Kingsland, Auckland. Around the room there were clinical practitioners and community practitioners side by side discussing matters of importance regarding the very important “duty of care” that many practitioners in the field take seriously.

Unfortunately, I missed out on the beginning part of the meeting due to an incessant cell phone which at times can be lifesaving and other times like carrying a heavy stone around in one’s handbag. I did however manage to catch up with Augustino also known as Tino.

After a year away in Samoa assisting with the establishment of the very first AOD School, a school that will see the number of addictions practitioners increase to match what he estimates as 80% of all inmates, thanks to the funding from the Ministry of Justice in Samoa. He spoke about the benefits of the AOD courts in New Zealand and that in Samoa it may be a little too late for the same approach but the AOD school is a much needed resource there at the moment.

Tino returns this year to take up his post as an addictions clinician at the Waitemata DHB. I might add here that Tino and I served as committee members on the DAPAANZ Executive 2yrs ago. Tino shared some exciting stories with fellow colleagues at the JAM meeting, including his observations of gambling in Samoa. He estimates that the annual income was around $10k per person which seems rather small in comparison to minimum wage here in New Zealand. What was even more interesting is the inability of locals to enter the casino without a foreign passport, this is something Tino said was one of the good things the local government in Samoa had established when the casino came to town. “Locals prefer to play housie or purchase tickets for a bonus draw” he says and “that’s why when they come to NZ from the islands they like to play these games” he goes on to say that “even though it’s a small amount of money, in samoa with lower incomes, it is more than one can afford”. The idea of risking it all is something all gambling harm practitioners can recognise.

These things signal something more serious in our line of work, needless to say it was a refreshing perspective from a fellow Addictions practitioner and provided some valuable clinical and non-clinical insights. For more information on the Pacific AOD and Gambling Services at Waitemata DHB you can select the link here: https://www.healthpoint.co.nz/public/mental-health-specialty/waitemata-d...

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