APRIL 12, 2006 -- After years of debate, the North Carolina Education Lottery became a reality last month. Millions of the scratch-off tickets have already been sold and there have been winners. Buy a ticket, become an instant winner. That's exciting to many people.
But winning can breed a major problem, addiction. Gambling addiction is nothing new. Health professionals tell us it has been on the rise for years. Unfortunately, the largest increase in gambling is among teenagers. There are hundreds of gambling sites on the internet and just about every day, there is at least one poker tournament program found on the various cable channels. It looks inviting, but it can be dangerous.
So with the introduction of the North Carolina Lottery, officials are trying to lessen the chance of a person taking the lottery to the extreme. Take a close look at one of the lottery tickets. On each one is a telephone number for a gambling addiction center. If you or someone you know starts buying tickets excessively, call the number on the screen for assistance on how to break the addiction and where to go for help.
Like it or not, the lottery is here to stay. But remember, it's intended to help give our school children a better education, not destroy people's lives.