Pioneering addiction programme helps 600th graduate

A groundbreaking initiative which helps people overcome their addictions has celebrated helping its 600th graduate.

Edinburgh resident Angie Dunn is the latest person to complete the Lothian and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme (LEAP), and she joined staff and NHS Lothian Chair Brian Houston to mark the event.

Dr David McCartney, who leads LEAP, said he was proud of all the graduates that had successfully completed the programme.

“Many of our graduates will have suffered from drug or alcohol addiction for several years before they sought help, so completing a three month treatment programme is a significant first step on the road to recovery.

“The programme is a tough and daunting challenge for those taking part. Patients are supported throughout the 12-week programme – as well as receiving medical care and therapy, patients are encouraged to support each other and are also assisted with housing, education and training.”

Angie, 49, said she wanted to use her experiences on the course to inspire others with addiction to come forward and get help from LEAP.

“My drinking was out of control and I had reached a very low point. Taking part in the programme was very tough but it has been fantastic – it’s boosted my confidence and made me realise I can take back control of my life,” she added.

There are twenty patients in early recovery on the LEAP treatment programme at any time. The intensive programme which began in 2007 has won an award for partnership working (with City of Edinburgh Council and Access to Industry).

A study at LEAP has found that most patients who complete treatment sustain a long term recovery.

Notes to editors:
1. LEAP is for patients aged 18 and over and is a collaboration between NHS Lothian, City of Edinburgh Council and Access to Industry. Transition, part of Access to Industry, provides training and education courses to help equip patients with skills and qualifications to allow them to move on with their lives once they finish the programme.
2. LEAP runs a well established aftercare group which operates six times a week. The group provides on-going support for patients in recovery and focuses on relapse prevention and connecting people to mutual aid and the recovery community in the city.
3. The City of Edinburgh Council provide supported accommodation for clients during their time with LEAP and help find housing solutions after graduation, continuing to offer support and help.
4. If you would like to know more about LEAP, please visit: