Community pharmacist experiences of providing needle and syringe programmes in Ireland

Jim McVeigh, Evelyn Hearne, Geoff Bates, Marie Claire Van Hout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background Community pharmacists are increasingly acknowledged as under-utilized, important and accessible health providers in providing harm reduction support to drug users via needle and syringe programmes (NSP), provision of advice, HIV/Hepatitis testing and as referral mechanism to social, medical and treatment services. We report here on qualitative findings as part of the evaluation of the pilot Pharmacy Needle Exchange (PNEX) programme in Ireland. Objectives The aim was to understand and illustrate pharmacist experiences of providing NSP. Methods Of the 107 eligible pharmacies, a total of 70 participated in the national evaluation. Telephone interviews (n = 17) and one-to-one interviews (n = 13) using a semi-structured guide were conducted with 30 pharmacists. Analysis of data was conducted using the Empirical Phenomenological Psychological (EPP) five step protocol. Results Pharmacist experiences illustrated the largely positive nature of providing NSP, and highlighted needs to develop harm reduction training for pharmacists and appropriate strategies to raise awareness, provide exchange packs to meet the specific needs of the diverse populations of people who inject drugs and ensure the development of trusting relationships and opportunities to engage within a confidential service. Conclusions Further enhancement of NSP coverage and targeted service delivery within national care pathways for drug and alcohol services is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-777
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • Harm reduction
  • Injecting drug users
  • Needle and syringe programme
  • Opiate users


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