LEAP celebrates 250th graduation

LEAP (Lothians & Edinburgh Abstinence Programme) today (19 March) celebrated its 250th patient graduation since launching in September 2007

Dawn Fee, 34, is the 250th patient to complete the three-month, community-based, rehabilitation programme. She was congratulated and presented with a certificate by Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Community Safety, at today’s ceremony.

LEAP, the first abstinence programme of its kind in Scotland, operates seven days a week and provides aftercare support as well as access to self-help groups for people dependent on substances who want to achieve drug and alcohol-free recovery.

Dawn has tried to beat her addiction over the last three years but was unable to address the issues of negative thoughts and constant fear that caused her to drink and use. She started at LEAP in January, and for the first time in eight years she is now hopeful about her future.

After more than one detox Dawn says she sought help from LEAP as “I knew what was coming and I didn’t want to die.

Dawn described LEAP as intense and amazing, saying “Everything the staff told me just clicked in my head. I learnt about my brain, the disease of addiction, my feelings and how all these things impacted on my drinking.

“One of the best things LEAP has d​one for me is introduced me to mutual aid and support groups. I feel safe at LEAP and in those groups.

Talking about her graduation Dawn said:

“I’m delighted to be the 250th patient to have compl​eted the LEAP programme. I’m so thankful to the LEAP team.”

Dawn is full of positivity about her future. Her commitment to recovery is clear, as she attends the LEAP aftercare programme and six mutual aid meetings each week.

Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Roseanna Cunningham said:‪

“On what is a very happy occasion, I congratulate everyone associated with LEA​P – staff, volunteers, supporters, current patients and especially today’s graduates who are continuing on their own roads to recovery. I wish them and their families and friends well.‪
“Recovery is a priority for the Scottish Government and it is our firm belief that recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, through services such as LEAP, is possible.​ We are investing £28.6m for drug treatment and support services in 2012/13, enabling faster access to recovery-focused services that place the individual at the centre of care and treatment.  We are ensuring help is there for people who want to access it.”‪

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

“I’m very proud to be celebrating our 250th graduation as we enter into our fifth year. Since the programme began in 2007, I’ve seen the life changing impact recovery has on our patients and their families.
“As we reach such milestones, we must recognise the courage and determination of all our graduates, and also the dedication and professionalism of the team I work with.  
“Today’s graduation ceremony is very special for LEAP, Dawn and her family as it marks the end of her treatment and a key point in her recovery.”

LEAP is funded by NHS Lothian and three local Alcohol Drug Partnerships and is operated in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, Access to Industry (Transition) and the Serenity Café.