07 April 2017

The independent representative voice of people who use drugs, UISCE (Union for Improved Services Communications & Education), will host a public event on Wednesday 12th April from 10.30am - 11.30am in Bagot Hutton, 6 Ormond Quay Upper, Dublin 7.  The event will unveil the organisation's Strategic Plan for 2017 which demonstrates its main objective of ending the need for people to inject on the streets, over the next three years.


Speakers on the day will include Catherine Byrne, TD for Dublin South Central and Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy; UISCE board members, Dr Brian Melaugh, Chair and Gary Broderick as well as UISCE member John Devoy.


Speaking about the Strategic Plan launch, Hannah McHugh, UISCE Coordinator said,”This event will give UISCE the opportunity to present our vision and direction on how, by working together, we can create a safer environment for people who use drugs and in turn a safer environment for the wider community.”


Hannah added, “UISCE aims to be at the table when decisions are being made nationally and regionally, an aim that we have made great progress with, by becoming part of the Advisory Group set up to support the enactment of the legislation and make recommendations on programme design and governance structures.”


UISCE is currently the representative voice of people who use drugs for the National Drug Strategy Steering Group, Safe Injecting Facility Expert Group and Naloxone Quality Advisory Group.  The organisation also represents the people who use drugs on Regional and Local Drug and Alcohol Taskforces.


Michael Lacey, National Chair of the Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces and a member of the National Drug Strategy Steering Group stated, “UISCE have brought so much to the Steering Group and have been a breath of fresh air, carrying on the valuable work first started by my great friend, former colleague and founder of UISCE, Tommy Larkin. ”


Michael continued,”We have a duty to ensure that the marginalised within our communities are represented and to challenge institutionalised poverty, injustice and inequality.  UISCE are playing a pivotal role here and I look forward to continuing to work alongside the UISCE team and the other members of the Steering Group as we carry on with this important work, which will contribute to the betterment of society.  


Speaking ahead of the Strategic Plan launch, Dr Eamon Keenan National Clinical Lead, Addiction Services, HSE said, “UISCE has been extremely helpful to the National Social Inclusion Office in the HSE, ensuring that the voice of our service users is heard. They have been involved in the development of our ‘Service User Experience Survey’ which has been important in the rollout of ‘Quality Standards’ to Addiction services. They have participated since the start in the working group of our Supervised Injecting Facility and have conducted two separate peer surveys of homeless people who inject drugs in order to better understand their needs and tailor our service appropriately.”


Eamon continued,”UISCE has been acting as advocates for service users around the country and has been in regular touch with me about relevant issues. I feel that the development of their National remit will be a progressive step towards ensuring that Ireland recognises the importance of the participation of People who Use Drugs in planning and development of services.”


For further information on the Strategic Plan Launch or UISCE, please visit www.myuisce.org or visit Facebook or Twitter @myuisce