Following the publication of the 2011 Drug Related Death statistics for Scotland, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Roseanna Cunningham visited the Recovery Hub in Leith, Edinburgh, a treatment and support service for people affected by alcohol and drugs.

The hub brings together alcohol and drug services provided by NHS Lothian, City of Edinburgh Council, Turning Point Scotland and other voluntary sector partners.

Ms Cunningham was given a tour of the facilities including the clinical, therapy and group rooms. She was joined by Colin Beck, Senior Manager for Mental Health Criminal Justice Homelessness and Substance Misuse, City of Edinburgh Council and Nick Smith, Joint Programme Manager, Edinburgh Alcohol and Drug Partnership.

She met Dr Judith Craven, a GP with special interest in Substance Misuse, and Stuart Byrne, Project Worker, at Turning Point Scotland.

Faye Keogh, Policy & Business Development Officer, Turning Point Scotland said:

“We must remain positive and continue to support individuals affected by substance misuse, to reduce the harm caused by alcohol and drugs, and to inspire hope and a belief that recovery is possible.

Turning Point Scotland believes everyone is capable of recovery but it is not a single event and may take time and effort to achieve.  People will need different support at different stages and that is why we are offer a range of services from short term crisis intervention to sustaining longer term recovery and abstinence.

Work to tackle drug misuse shouldn’t operate in isolation. Addressing housing needs, physical and mental health and family support alongside issues such as education, training and employment allow us to deliver person centred support and routes out of harmful drug use.

We put a lot of emphasis on working in partnership and that is why we are playing a role in the North East Recovery Hub.

As well as contributing to partnership approaches such as the Recovery Hub in Leith, Turning Point Scotland is piloting new and innovative approaches, such as our Housing First service in Glasgow and Turnaround, operating across the West of Scotland outside of Glasgow, that emphasis a partnership approach and respond to people’s needs and circumstances.”

Turning Point Scotland has a number of initiatives in different parts of the country to reduce harm and promote recovery:


  • Naloxone – we supply take home kits and staff deliver training on how to administer naloxone, and how to respond to an overdose (basic CPR, call an ambulance etc.).  For example, Edinburgh services have facilitated training with service users and distributed 26 take home kits, and Big River staff provide Naloxone awareness training to other agencies throughout Scottish Borders
  • Harm reduction – the provision of injecting equipment, advice on safer injecting practice, information and awareness raising on risks associated with drug use and on overdose prevention.  For example, Glasgow Drug Crisis Centre are part of Glasgow City Council pilot of water supply at Needle exchanges and this has gave us an opportunity to re emphasise harm reduction messages and give all elements needed for a safe injection
  • Group work – We have harm reduction and overdose awareness groups as part of our residential programme.  For example, CARS (Edinburgh) have groups specifically focusing on overdose prevention training and drug awareness as part of a structured day program
  • Quick response to people requesting support or treatment.  Edinburgh services have designed an assessment process that gathers all the essential information and allows for a basic recovery plan to be developed at the first meeting
  • Promoting recovery, encouraging peer support and motivation and a sense of optimism and hope