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Home > International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA) Europe.

Kelly, Peter (2019) International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA) Europe. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 69, Spring 2019 , p. 18.

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On Sunday, 26 August 2018, a special ceremony linked to the 10th International Council of Nurses (ICN) Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nurses (NP/APN) conference took place at De Doelen Congress Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Addiction nurses from around the world gathered for the inauguration of the International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA) Europe and the launch of the new website of the Netherlands Chapter of IntNSA. 1


During the four days of the conference, IntNSA members from the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), the Netherlands and Ireland, along with colleagues from the Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia (DANA) and service-user representatives from the Netherlands, contributed to several of the conference workshops and presentations. Their objective was to increase awareness of education, best practice, and the role of the specialist nurse when addressing the needs of people who use drugs and alcohol. As the largest professional group in healthcare, nurses are uniquely placed to address the needs of this population across the continuum of care.


During the conference, the Dutch Minister for Health, Hugo de Jonge, announced that advanced nurse practitioners (ANP) in the Netherlands will be allowed to work as fully autonomous practitioners. In the Netherlands, ANPs in addiction treatment can admit and discharge service users as well as initiate the prescribing of diamorphine and/or other substitute medications such as methadone. The value of specialist addiction nurses and specifically nurse prescribers in the UK, the US and Australia has also been realised, where they have significantly increased access to cost-effective and gold standard services. 2


In Ireland, we have a small number of trained nurse prescribers working in addictions, most of whom are not prescribing or else prescribing in a limited capacity. The new national drugs strategy 3 has stipulated that the development of nurse prescribing should be explored further. This may lead to the necessary legislative changes being made to facilitate the development of this role, as has been done in other jurisdictions.


More recently, the Nursing and Midwifery Planning and Development Units (NMPDUs) have funded research, led by Professor Catherine Comiskey from Trinity College Dublin, into the role of the nurse and ‘what service users want’ from nurses. From this, it is hoped that the full potential of the nurses to meet the needs of service users will be acknowledged and further developed. The Ireland Chapter of IntNSA is represented on our National Steering Committee and on the National Implementation Committee for the new national drugs strategy, and continues its involvement in international research.


From L to R: Professor Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Middlesex University London; Dr Ginny Focht-New, IntNSA US; Jackie Middledorp, ANP, IntNSA Netherlands; Dr Chris Loth, IntNSA Netherlands; Dana Murphy-Parker, IntNSA US; Dr Stephen Strobbe, president of IntNSA Global; Yvonne Slee, ANP, president of IntNSA Netherlands; Dick van Etten, ANP, IntNSA Netherlands; Professor Carmel Clancy, IntNSA UK; Dr Adam Searby, secretary of DANA; Peter Kelly, IntNSA Ireland


1  For further information, visit the website:

2  For further information on the role of the nurse working in drug and alcohol treatment services in the UK, visit:

3  Department of Health (2017) Reducing harm, supporting recovery: a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017–2025. Dublin: Department of Health.

Item Type
Publication Type
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Treatment method
Issue Title
Issue 69, Spring 2019
June 2019
Page Range
p. 18
Health Research Board
Issue 69, Spring 2019

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