Home > It’s ‘Talk Time – what women want’.

Pike, Brigid (2015) It’s ‘Talk Time – what women want’. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 53, Spring 2015, p. 19.

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It’s ‘Talk Time – what women want’


For the third year in a row, women from all over Ireland have come together to discuss issues relating to their experiences as ‘women in addiction and in addiction services’.  The themes in the previous two years were My Story in Recovery, and Ten Tips for Professionals Working with Women in Addiction (see box). This year women were asked to work on ‘a message for the Minister’.


Organised by SAOL, a community-based recovery project for women in Dublin’s north inner city, and UISCE (Union for Improved Services Communication and Education), a drug users forum based in Dublin’s north inner city, the forum was held in the Sheriff Street Community Centre on 4 March 2015.1 Some 100 women, including women from Cork and Belfast, attended the forum and local TDs Maureen O’Sullivan and Mary-Lou MacDonald spoke to the group. O’Sullivan talked about the importance of prevention in tackling the drug problem and the need also to tackle the housing and homelessness problems. MacDonald stressed that communities as a whole have a responsibility to tackle the drug problem and invited service users to let their communities, including their TDS, know what their needs and issues are.


In breakout groups the women addressed three open-ended questions:

  1. What is the number one thing that you think should be provided in services, which are presently not available?
  2. If you could change one thing to positively change the drug scene in Ireland, what would it be?
  3. What responses do women need from the government to help the unhealthy relationship with alcohol?


The breakout groups reported back on the outcome of their discussions. The organisers will use this feedback to prepare a document that will be used to seek to influence the government to provide better services for women. (Brigid Pike)


1 For more information on SAOL and UISCE visit www.saolproject.ie and www.nicdtf.ie/PROJECTS/PROJECTS/UISCE.html

Top Ten Tips for Professionals Working with Women in Addiction*

  1. Don't be rushing us, because real recovery takes time. Smaller, women-only groups, will help.
  2. Don’t judge us; get rid of the negative attitude; no discrimination. Women in recovery have enough shame already, we don’t need more.
  3. We want real empathy with practical support – not small talk with no action from you. If we didn’t need some practical help, we wouldn’t be at your services.
  4. We need more women key-workers for women service users; then let us choose.
  5. Work with us in partnership. We don’t need you to make decisions for us.
  6. Make appointment times more flexible as there are more barriers for women when accessing services.
  7. We need more residential options for mothers and babies. There’s often no point sending us to places when we have to leave our children behind.
  8. Childcare services and resources are essential. We need more.
  9. We need more social events for women as it is often harder for us to socialise and make friends when recovery gets under way.
  10. We need practical help (including funding) with housing, general health and back to education.


* Source: ‘It’s talk time 2’, SAOL 2014

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
Issue Title
Issue 53, Spring 2015
March 2015
Page Range
p. 19
Health Research Board
Issue 53, Spring 2015

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