Back Trainings


We offer a broad range of trainings that support the long-term behavioral health and wellbeing of all New Mexicans. Together we can make things better.
Back Research & Publications

Research & Publications

Back Advocacy


Back About CHI-PHI


As New Mexico's public health institute we believe in – and deeply value – the power of community in creating wellbeing, resilience, diversity, inclusivity and equity. About CHI-PHI
Back Partner with us

Partner with us

Home » Uncategorized » Avoid this holiday stocking stuffer for minors

Avoid this holiday stocking stuffer for minors

Scartcher lottery tickets can led to gambling in youth.

Wednesday, December 19, 2019; Las Cruces, NM: ‘Tis the season to stuff stockings with gifts and goodies, but there is one stocking stuffer you should avoid giving to minors: a scratch-off ticket. The Unified Prevention Coalition of Doña Ana County (UP!) wants to remind residents that not only can a minor not legally claim a lottery or scratch-off ticket prize, but the earlier children have opportunities to gamble, the more likely they are to develop a gambling problem in life.

Children’s brains develop over time, meaning children and teenagers’ brains cannot assess risks and consequences like adult brains can. It’s the same reason there are minimum ages to purchase tobacco products and alcohol.

Experts say adult problem gamblers frequently report beginning gambling during childhood, unusually between nine and 10 years old and in the company of other family members. A recent Yale University study found that youngsters who received instant tickets as a gift tended to begin gambling earlier in life.

Don’t think youth gambling is a problem in our county?

One in four Doña Ana County high school students admitted to gambling in the past year on the most recent Youth Risk and Residency Survey, a national survey that gauges the healthy, and not-so-healthy, behaviors of teens. 

Help reinforce the message that youth shouldn’t participate in gambling activities by avoiding accidentally engaging them in games of chance. Remember vendors aren’t allowed to sell lottery tickets or scratch-off tickets to children because of the known the risks to youth associated with problem gambling.

UP! encourages Dona Ana County adults to keep children and teenagers from getting involved in the games, as such games of chance, no matter how banal in appearance these “games” can sow the seeds for gambling addiction later in life. Problematic gambling among adolescents has shown results in increased delinquency and crime, the disruption of relationships and impaired academic performance.

If you are concerned about a child or teenager’s possible gambling or find gambling is no longer enjoyable get help by contacting the New Mexico Council of Problem Gambling at 1-800-572-1142 or visit  This free helpline is available 24-hours a day, every day.

A message from the Unified Prevention Coalition of Doña Ana County (UP!). For more information on UP! contact Marisol Diaz at (575) 597-0042 or email:

About the Center for Health Innovation (GENERAL ORGANIZATIONAL INFORMATION)

The Center for Health Innovation (CHI) is a nonprofit focused on bettering community health in underserved and underrepresented populations.  CHI empowers groups and individuals at a local, state and national level to determine the future well being of their communities through the development and implementation of innovative policies,strategies and evidence-based models. Founded in 2015, CHI is headquartered in Silver City, with additional offices located throughout New Mexico. For more information, visit

About the Unified Prevention Coalition for Doña Ana County (GENERAL PROGRAM INFORMATION)

Unified Prevention (UP!) Coalition for Doña Ana County seeks to build community collaboration around efforts to reduce and/or prevent youth drug and alcohol use and abuse, address factors that increase risks of usage and promote factors that increase resiliency. Currently, UP! is focusing on reducing youth use of alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs by utilizing evidence-based practices which are relevant and culturally appropriate. The Coalition solidified in 2015 with the support of the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention.  For more information visit the UP!C webpage.