Ireland Country Drug Report 2019

Quality assurance

One of the goals of the national drug strategy, ‘Reducing harm, supporting recovery: a health-led approach to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025’, is timely access to appropriate support, treatment and rehabilitation services relevant to the needs and circumstances of the person. The strategy tasks the Health Service Executive with further strengthening the implementation of the National Drug Rehabilitation Framework, increasing the quality and safety of care in the delivery of opioid substitution treatment and improving outcomes for people with comorbid severe mental illness and substance use problems.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is an independent authority established to drive high-quality and safe care for people using health and social care services in Ireland. In 2012, HIQA launched the National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare (NSSBHC), providing a framework to organise, manage and deliver safe and sustainable healthcare consistently.

For addiction services, the Quality in Alcohol and Drug Services organisational standards manual provides a set of quality standards. The manual is intended as a guide and a review tool and is embedded within the NSSBHC; it aims to assist drug and alcohol services in the community and voluntary sector in the development of quality standards for their services. The organisational standards may also be useful to other organisations working with addiction services, such as commissioners.

In April 2018, a new online tool was initiated to support the implementation of evidence-based programmes that address one of five broad national outcomes for children set out in the Better Outcomes, Brighter Future policy document. These include outcomes related to the prevention of drug and alcohol use.

The Irish College of General Practitioners is responsible for the training, accreditation and auditing of specialised general practitioners who prescribe methadone. To address professional development in prevention and early intervention with a standardised module of training, a mapping exercise of existing training is currently on-going.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.