Making the Leap

LEAP (Lothians and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme), an innovative partnership programme between NHS Lothian and the drug and alcohol action teams in Edinburgh and the Lothians has been launched this week with the aim of helping people dependent upon drugs and alcohol lead substance-free lives.

Based in Edinburgh, the programme, the first of its kind in Scotland, uses community rehabilitation as a means of achieving a life free from dependency on drugs or alcohol. Patients follow an intensive three-month community-based programme which includes group work, one-to-one counselling and family therapy. Training and education courses help equip patients with skills and qualifications to allow them to move on with their lives once they finish the programme.

Supported accommodation for patients whilst they are attending LEAP is being provided by the City of Edinburgh Council in the city centre.

David McCartney, Clinical Lead of LEAP, NHS Lothian said:

"It is exciting to be involved in such a pioneering programme. LEAP is a challenging, demanding and intensive programme, seven days a week and is aimed at people dependent on substances who are motivated to get clean. This is not an easy route to take and it will test the resolve of those who enter the programme.
"It is also important to stress that support doesn't end when patients complete the three-month programme. Patients will remain engaged and receive ongoing aftercare. Evidence suggests that recovery is more likely where support is continuing. Self-help groups, which we know help people stay clean, will also be an integral and important element of the programme. Ultimately you cannot impose a substance free lifestyle on someone. They must want to achieve it themselves. Our challenge is to support and help them in their recovery journey."

Councillor Paul Edie, Convenor of Health Social Care and Housing at the City of Edinburgh Council, said:

"I am delighted that the Council is involved in this innovative project. Sadly, drug abuse can often lead to homelessness. By working on this project, and by providing supported accommodation, we hope to give people a much better chance of rebuilding their lives."

Sian Fiddimore, Manager, Transition said:

"We are delighted to be working in partnership with LEAP. We have a great deal of experience in providing programmes of accredited learning for recovering and recovered substance users and will be providing support through training, education and employment during and after the programme."

To participate in LEAP, patients can be referred by their GP or a voluntary or specialist drug or alcohol service.

The programme is funded by the Scottish Executive. The Robertson Trust has also provided additional funding.