Peer support as a pathway from harm to recovery

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

Aim: To evaluate the impact of Peer Support on the engagement of high-risk patients at the Low Threshold Methadone Programme (LTMP) in Edinburgh.

Method: A bespoke questionnaire was designed. Patients, who attend both daily and weekly, were offered the chance to be interviewed. The responses were analysed by themes. 34/45 patients completed the questionnaire.

Results: 75% of patients who had contact with peer support found it very helpful, and 76% felt they had made a positive change as a result. Further qualitative data is summarised in the poster. A notable theme was that patients felt they could easily identify and engage with somebody who had similar past experiences.

Conclusions:  Peers and peer-led Recovery groups at the LTMP are highly valued by this high risk group of patients. Contact with peers improves engagement in treatment and Recovery. Many patients attribute positive changes to their experiences of peer support. This is a qualitative study involving small numbers of patients. These results have been disseminated to local NHS management groups and service commissioners who are keen to recommend the development of peer support services in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Napier University have invited an oral presentation of these data. These findings are relevant and transferrable to the design of other addictions services.


Jim Shanley, Manager, Harm Reduction Service – Substance Misuse Directorate, NHS Lothian, Scotland, UK Lynda Christie, Blood Borne Virus Prevention Worker – Substance Misuse Directorate, NHS Lothian, Scotland, UK Dr Rachel XA Petrie, Consultant Psychiatrist

Conflicts of interest:

No conflict of interest

Miss Isabella Jenkins