‘The voice of the street’: Using peer led outreach with people who use drugs to inform the development of Ireland’s National Drug Strategy


  • Brian Melaugh
  • Hannah Rodrigues Coordinator, UISCE, Dublin




 The purpose of this article is to share how an Irish drugs advocacy organisation, UISCE conducted a consultation with ‘People Who Use Drugs’ (PWUD) to inform the development of Ireland’s National Drugs Strategy: Reducing Harm Supporting Recovery. People who use drugs are considered a ‘hard to reach’ or ‘hidden’ population’ who, because of their marginal status, are often absent from research and drug policy. Indeed, there is a lack of published data on how to engage with PWUD to inform policy development. The paper aims to extend the literature by highlighting how UISCE, employing a ‘peer-led street outreach’ approach, included 51 PWUD in the consultation to inform the Irish national drug strategy. Central to the paper is a description of the steps taken to conduct the consultation with a review of the challenges and benefits of using a ‘street based recruitment’ strategy to engage with hard to reach people who use drugs.
Keywords: hard to reach; people who use drugs; peer led; drug use; drug policy


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How to Cite

Melaugh, B., & Rodrigues, H. (2018). ‘The voice of the street’: Using peer led outreach with people who use drugs to inform the development of Ireland’s National Drug Strategy. Social Work and Social Sciences Review, 19(3), 7-16. https://doi.org/10.1921/swssr.v19i3.1188