‘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


 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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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1921/swssr.v19i3.1188


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