Drugs and Alcohol Policy Minister Elena Whitham attended a Christmas event at a residential rehab centre and learned about the vital support it provides to those in addiction recovery.

Ms Whitham visited Abbeycare in Erskine, on Thursday evening to hear about its life-changing drug and alcohol rehabilitation and detoxification services, and to take part its community carol singing service.

The minister was given a tour of the centre and spoke to residents and members of Abbeycare’s aftercare groups about their experiences of substance use disorders and their individual recoveries.

The Christmas carol service was designed to bring together staff and current and former clients of Abbeycare with those living in the neighbouring area, with a performance from the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde choir.

There was also a special visit from Santa, organised by Erskine and District Rotary Club, and small presents were handed out to local children.
All current clients and those who attend the clinic’s aftercare groups were invited, along with the staff members who support them and their children.

Abbeycare Scotland provides specialist residential abstinence-based detoxification and rehabilitation services.
Its programmes include extensive aftercare, family support, harm reduction interventions, and recovery care planning, as well as counselling to help people address the issues behind their addictions.

The centre at Erskine Mains House accepts admissions from across Scotland, including both private patients and local authority referrals.

Drugs and Alcohol Policy Minster Elena Whitham said: “I was pleased to hear about the work Abbeycare does to help support our National Mission to reduce drug deaths and save and improve lives impacted by substance use.

“The Christmas carol service was a great way to bring people in recovery, families, staff and the local community together at a time of year that can be difficult for many.”

Paul Bowley, chief executive of Abbeycare, said: “We were incredibly pleased to welcome the Minister to our centre in Erskine to discuss the work we do to support people in recovery from drug and/or alcohol addictions.

“This was an opportunity for her to hear first-hand from the people we treat about the life-changing impact abstinence-based rehabilitation and detoxification services can have.

“We were also delighted that Ms Whitham could attend and take part in our special Christmas carol service, which was designed to spread some community cheer and bring people together during the festive period.

“In Scotland, there are many excellent services which can support people with substance use disorders.

“We believe that abstinence-based rehabilitation, along with these other harm reduction interventions, will play a key role in tackling the country’s drugs deaths crisis.”

Photo: (L to R): Liam Mehigan, Abbeycare Operations Director; Lorraine Cameron, Renfrewshire Provost; Elena Whitham, Drugs and Alcohol Policy Minister; Paul Bowley, Abbeycare Chief Executive
Photo Credit: Stephen McLean

Photo: (L to R): Eddie Clarke, Abbeycare Outreach Manager; Liam Mehigan, Abbeycare Operations Director; Marie McGuire, Abbeycare Lead Psychotherapist; Billy Henderson, Abbeycare Service Engagement Manager; Elena Whitham, Drugs and Alcohol Policy Minister; Gordon Peacock, Abbeycare Admissions Manager; Douglas McFarlane, Abbeycare Registered Manager; Paul Bowley, Abbeycare Chief Executive
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Stephen McLean

Photo Credit: Stephen McLean

Photo Credit: Stephen McLean

Photo Credit: Stephen McLean

Photo Credit: Stephen McLean

Photo Credit: Stephen McLean

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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