Exploring the tumultuous landscape of addiction research, policy and practice

Posted on: 26 February 2020

At the launch of ‘Addiction Debates’ were (l to r) Minister of State Catherine Byrne TD, Professor Catherine Comiskey, Author and Interim Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery and Professor Orla Shiels, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Trinity College.

A new book which explores the tumultuous landscape of addiction research, policy and practice has been launched by Professor Catherine Comiskey, School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity. ‘Addiction Debates: Hot topics from Policy to Practice’ is a book that covers a range of important issues of addiction research and practice in a balanced and informative way.

Professor Comiskey provides international perspectives on each topic, stimulating debate and discussion via the different approaches taken globally.

Given international and national debates surrounding safe injecting, decriminalisation and hidden harms among children of parents who use drugs there is a need for a clear and concise presentation of the global evidence on these policy topics. These are topics that impact all aspects of society, policy development and services.

Professor Comiskey is the former and subsequently interim Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin. She is currently the vice chair of the Scientific Committee of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs & Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), has acted as ministerial academic expert to the National Drug Strategy Implementation group and has over 100 peer reviewed publications.

At the launch she thanked all of the services and international evidence that informed the book and said:

I am delighted to hear from both addiction services and academic institutions how useful they have found the book.  Addiction services have told me how the content has challenged them to revisit not only their philosophies but also how they are delivering their services and ensuring they are continuing to meet their client needs. Educators have told that the book is an excellent text book for their students as it contains the up to date evidence on the so called current ‘hot topics’ and it has stimulated discussion in class and provided a comprehensive resource for lecturers.

I am looking forward to using  the book myself with our under graduate elective in Addiction nursing, our post graduate masters degree in Addiction Recovery and with my PhD students.


Catherine Byrne TD, Minister of State for Health Promotion & the National Drugs Strategy, who officially launched the book said:


I am delighted to launch this excellent book by Professor Catherine Comiskey and I wish to sincerely thank her for the hugely significant contribution she has made to drugs policy in Ireland, not least in advising on the development of our National Drugs Strategy, ‘Reducing Harm Supporting Recovery’.

This book really resonated with me because it opens up a timely debate about people in addiction in a very humane way. While it gives us important academic analysis and statistics, it also deals sensitively with such difficult issues as hidden harm, safe injecting, stigma and overdose.

Since it was launched in 2017 we have made good progress in implementing our National Drugs Strategy, taking a public health approach to drug use and addiction. Catherine’s contribution and research is key to this process. It has been a pleasure to work with her and I wish her well for the future.


Also in attendance were Professor Orla Shiels, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Trinity College, Mr Tony Duffin, CEO, Ana Liffey Drug Project and Ms Pauline McKeown, CEO, Coolmine Therapeutic Community.


‘Addiction Debates’ can be purchased HERE.


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