Pubdate: Wed, 5 Aug 1998
Source: Advertiser, The (Australia)
Contact:  Brady Haran


THE Salvation Army has scrapped one of its major drug and alcohol
rehabilitation services because it is too expensive.

The Bridges Program - which gives people accommodation at the Salvos'
Gilbert St building for 13 weeks of drug abstinence - will be closed within
two weeks.

The head of social services for the Salvos, Captain Barry Casey, said
yesterday that stabilising costs was a major reason for the closure.

"It is a very expensive program to offer the service for 13 weeks," Captain
Casey said.

The Australian Medical Association expressed concern over the closure.

The association's South Australian president, Dr Rod Pearce, said: "These
projects seem to be falling by the wayside... because there is no
co-ordinated approach to bring them together."

The Salvos will replace the Bridges Program with a new network that involves
home visits, counselling and linking people to accommodation.

Captain Casey said a similar network was introduced by the Salvos in
Victoria two years ago and had "exceeded expectations". "A greater number of
people will be able to access this service," he said.

"Whereas in the past we have been limited to supporting an average of 16
people in the residential program, this new model opens the door for us to
support up to 80 at any one time.

"This is the best way to service the whole of the community with the money
we have."

People with jobs or families were often unable to use the Bridges Program
because they could not sacrifice 13 weeks, he said.

"Those people will benefit from the new network," Captain Casey said.

The Adelaide-based director of the National Centre for Education and
Training of Addiction, Dr Steve Allsop, commended the Salvos for putting
their limited resources to good use.

Many addiction services had "thrown in the towel when finances were
difficult", Dr Allsop said.

The Bridges Program employed three full-time workers and five casual

Captain Casey said the workers' futures were still being negotiated.

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Checked-by: "Rolf Ernst"