The Salvation Army Bridge Program has been operating in Australia for 40 years.
The program began in Tasmania in 1986 as a residential rehabilitation service. Our first facility was located at Carlton, in rural south-east Tasmania, catering mainly to men aged over 40 who were undergoing treatment for alcohol use. At that time, our clients were treated based on a disease model of addiction, and were educated using the 12-step treatment model. Lapses were seen as failure to abstain and often resulted in being discharged from the program.
In 1995, The Bridge Program moved to its current site in New Town, and over the next several years the program, and the needs of our clients, changed significantly. The people we welcomed to the program became more diverse – including more women and young people – and their needs became more complex.
While alcohol still remains the most common drug for which people seek assistance, we also work with individuals who are experiencing issues with amphetamine use, cannabis, poly-drug use and dual diagnoses.