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Aboriginal Sobriety Group re-launches mobile assistance patrol in Murray Bridge
The Indigenous corporation will help locals affected by drugs or alcohol get the help they need without police getting involved.
This sponsored post is brought to you by the Aboriginal Sobriety Group.
A service which helps people sober up without police intervention is about to re-launch in Murray Bridge.
The Aboriginal Sobriety Group will operate a mobile assistance patrol service in the district, beginning next week.
The free service will be able to pick up anyone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and transport them to a safe place in a culturally appropriate way.
Trained and qualified field officers will yarn with MAP bus clients, listening to their stories and helping them connect with case managers and other services.
It will operate from 2-10pm on weekdays at first, but may change or lengthen its hours to better suit community needs.
MAP manager Ben Stace makes it clear that the bus will not be a taxi service.
“People come to us for support, not just to get home,” he says.
“If there’s anti-social behaviour (going on) … we’ll come in, de-escalate the situation, remove the person from the situation, the cops won’t get called and they won’t get locked up.”
A supportive approach works particularly well for Indigenous clients, he says, because most of the ASG’s volunteers are Aboriginal – “(clients) don’t feel ashamed because they’re with their own people”.
Until recently, a mobile assistance patrol service in the Murray Bridge district was operated by the Kalparrin Community.
However, Aboriginal Sobriety Group acting CEO Tessa Peisley emphasises that the service will still be in local hands.
The ASG has long operated Lakalinjeri Tumbetin Waal, a live-in rehabilitation centre at Monarto; and Ngarrindjeri elder Major Sumner is one of its directors.
It was the same Uncle Moogy who, with other local elders, first started a local mobile assistance patrol in the 1970s – “driving around in a bunged-up car with no door”, Tessa says.
The ASG formalised the service after being established in 1989, in response to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
Now things have come full circle, and the ASG MAP bus will be back on the streets again.
Get help: Call the Aboriginal Sobriety Group’s mobile assistance patrol on 0478 111 915.
More information: asg.org.au.
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