A day’s drive from Sydney and hundreds of kilometres from the nearest cinema, the picturesque town of Murrin Bridge, with its population of 200, doesn’t get much more remote.
Last month, SMART Recovery National Program Coordinator Josette Freeman made the trip 166kms north of ‘neighbouring’ Griffith, to provide Indigenous-specific SMART Recovery facilitator training for staff at the Murrin Bridge Aboriginal Health Service Incorporated, as well as local community members.
Murrin Bridge was formed by Ngiyampaa, Barkinji and Wirandjiri people.
Weekly SMART Recovery meetings presently run for Aboriginal communities in the surrounding Riverina towns of Griffith, Narrandera, Leeton, Hillston and Hay. Now Griffith Aboriginal Medical Service has commissioned SMART Recovery to help establish new meetings in Murrin Bridge for locals struggling with addiction.
Ice has recently leapfrogged cannabis as the second most problematic substance in the area. Alcohol remains the primary problematic substance in Murrin Bridge.
So far, one group has commenced every Tuesday, under the guidance of Sid Barone, who is the Riverina Regional AOD Program Coordinator, as well as being a newly appointed member of the SMART Recovery Australia Facilitator Advisory Committee. A second Murrin Bridge group is expected the open shortly.