WHO WE ARE
UISCE is the Union for Improved Services, Communication and Education and has been the representative voice of people who use drugs in Ireland since 1992.
Starting as a service user group in the Ana Liffey and later becoming an independent organisation, the founding co-ordinator was Tommy Larkin. Tommy was extremely influential in shaping UISCE and was commissioned by the local drugs task force on a consultancy basis to represent the issues of people who used drugs or were receiving drugs services in the area. Tommy, sadly died in 2004 but will always be the heart of UISCE.
Under Tommy’s stewardship, UISCE grew. The organisation published a research report “Methadone: What’s the Story” in 2003 which detailed concerns about aspects of methadone protocols. A further report, “We’re People Too”, published in 2005, in collaboration with the Mountjoy Street Family Practice and the Participation and Practice of Rights Project, documented drug users’ experiences of health services.
Ruardhi McAuliffe represented UISCE as Coordinator for a further eleven years until 2016. During this time the organisation had part of its’ funding cut as a result of the Global Financial Crisis and struggled to stay afloat. Ruardhi successfully steered the ship through the storm and represented UISCE at many national and international events. His strength in building and maintaining relationships allowed the organisation to continue.
We ensure collaboration and engagement of service users in the development of services and products designed to benefit this community. Recently, we have adopted a National remit and are now representing people who use drugs across the country.
The National Drug Strategy places centrality on drug user representation across all pillars. UISCE make this requirement actual by engagement through unique peer led outreach and capacity building for people who use drugs.
UISCE has a respected publication, Brass Munkie, with distribution of 4000 hard copies per annum. This supports communication and the ability to provide information on harm reduction as well as health warnings and initiatives to a large group of people who use drugs. In the past quarter, UISCE has engaged with 347 people who use drugs through the donation of 994 Volunteer Hours.