In 2016-2017 the Ireland Chapter of IntNSA made extensive contributions to the development of the current Irish National Drugs Strategy ‘Reducing harm-supporting recovery 2017-2025‘. This is the first drugs strategy in Ireland that gives specific mention to nursing.
Subsequent to this, in late 2017, IntNSA Ireland was invited by the then Junior Government Minister of Health to sit on the National Oversight Committee [NOC], whose remit is to oversee the implementation of the strategy. This invitation was accepted by IntNSA Ireland who then sat on the strategy group for over two years. This was the first time that addiction nursing was represented at this level of policy implementation in Ireland.
Following a mid-term review of the strategy under a new government minister, and a consolidation process to reduce representation on the committee in 2021, IntNSA Ireland was removed from the NOC and requested to sit on various sub-committees of the strategy. This process resulted in no less than 5 medically trained doctors maintaining their place on the NOC, but with no nursing representation. IntNSA Ireland wrote to the Minister to convey their ‘deep insult’ at this decision and requested that he re-instate IntNSA, but unfortunately, the Minister refused to change his mind.
IntNSA Ireland then embarked on a media campaign and intense lobbying of government and opposition politicians which culminated in the Minister appearing before a parliamentary committee where he finally agreed to re-instate a representative of addiction nursing on the NOC. Subsequent to his appearance before the committee, the Irish board met with the minister to discuss a proposal to re-instate nurses and involvement from IntNSA on various strategic implementation groups.
While the chapter agrees ‘in principle’ to the government proposals, it is awaiting these proposals in writing before offering any formal response.