About us

Our story so far

Taking us from 1975 to current day we offer a brief history of our Society from its humble beginnings as the National Nurses Society on Alcoholism (NNSA) to its present status as an International organisation with the ambition to be the global leader for addictions nursing


IntNSA has a long and rich history which stretches back to 1974 when the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) during its biennial conference supported the establishment of the National Nurses Society on Alcoholism (NNSA). In 1975 the NNSA was officially formed as the nursing counterpart to the physician’s group The American Medical Society on Alcoholism. Over the next number of years, the NNSA Board was developed; steering committees were formed; educational seminars began to take place; a constitution was drafted; and position papers were published.

In 1983, NNSA decided to change its’ name to include all substances causing addiction. The organization, whilst retaining the same ‘NNSA brand’, was renamed the National Nurses Society on Addictions (NNSA).  Efforts to support and increase awareness about addictions and the role and value of nursing resulted in its first publication Standards of practice in addictions nursing(1984), and the collaborative publication of The Care of Clients with Addictions: Dimensions of Nursing Practice by the ANA, NNSA, and the Drug and Alcohol Nurses Association (DANA)[1]became available in 1987. By 1990, the Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN) had been developed; a new journal, Perspectives on Addictions Nursing,was regularly published, and the membership of NNSA had reached 1000 nurses.

Over the next decade NNSA’s focus was primarily engaged within the USA, but by 1997, members were taking an interest in what nurses were doing in other countries.  For example, during similar time periods when NNSA was being formed, nurses in the UK had formed the Association of Nurses in Substance Abuse (ANSA), and nurses in Australia had established the Drug and Alcohol Nurses Association (DANA). Furthermore, although NNSA had a significant membership, there were two other nursing organisations with a focus on addiction: The Consolidated Association of Nurses in Substance Abuse (CANSA), and another Drug and Alcohol Nurses Association (DANA) which were USA based.  In 2000, and in an effort to consolidate efforts, NNSA in discussion and agreement with CANSA and DANA agreed to merge and name the new organisation the International Nurses Society on Addiction (IntNSA).

Whilst opening its membership to ‘international members’ IntNSA primarily remained a USA focussed organisation reflecting the needs of its USA membership base.  Efforts by the ‘international task force’ over the preceding 10 years, resulted in 2014, in the first appointment of a member from outside of the USA[2]onto the Board of Directors.  At the IntNSA strategic planning retreat held by the Board of Directors, in March 2015, this member presented a strategy and model for international development. This strategy was based on developing IntNSA mapped against World Health Organisational regions (i.e. African Region, Region of the Americas, South-East Asia Region, European Region, Eastern Mediterranean Region, and Western Pacific Region[3]).The full Board eagerly adopted this plan and presented to the wider membership at the AGM, the international strategy took on new energy to drive through these changes.

With this, it was understood that different regions must maintain their own identity reflecting individual cultural, political, and environmental characteristics.   Ultimately the intention will be that each ‘region’ will have its own governing President and Board of Directors, which in turn, will feed into an ‘International Board’.

IntNSA is currently progressing this strategy but given the history and current profile of membership (predominately residing with the USA), these ambitions must be undertaken cautiously so that the needs and support of current members is safeguarded.  We are also excited by the relaunch of our new website in ‘connecting all our members’ irrespective of geographical location within our community of practice app, and trust that as our membership expands internationally this will become a rich and diverse forum for discussion and debate on what ‘world class nursing care in the addictions field should be’.  As we begin to grow we are delighted to report that since 2015, in addition to continuing to build our chapter membership within the USA, we have welcomed the following new Chapters: Ireland; Brazil; Canada;  Holland; and the United Kingdom.  We also launched the IntNSA European Region in Rotterdam in August 2018 and are confident that this will begin to build IntNSA’s membership among our European nurses.

[1]Note: This DANA group was a USA formed group during this time period and no longer exists. It should not be confused with the Drug and Alcohol Nurses Association of Australasia – see https://www.danaonline.org

[2]Dr Carmel Clancy, former Chair of the Association of Nurses in Substance Abuse (ANSA)(UK)

[3]Note: We acknowledge that the Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia (DANA) is a member of the WHO Western Pacific Region and in an effort not to duplicate or dilute effort IntNSA is currently exploring with DANA how to work collaboratively in supporting nurses from countries within this WHO Region working in the field of AOD.




Our mission

To advance excellence in nursing care for the prevention and treatment of addictions for diverse populations across all practice settings through advocacy, collaboration, education, research and policy development.    

Our goal is to help nurses provide high-quality, evidence-based addictions nursing care for patients, families, populations and communities. IntNSA has something to offer every nurse regardless of their area of nursing practice. With the prevalence of addiction-related health consequences, we believe that all nurses can and should acquire and maintain a basic level of knowledge and skills to address substance use and related disorders.


Our vision

To be a global leader in addictions nursing.

Our strength comes from our members, including clinicians, educators, managers, and researchers who practice in a wide variety of settings, including treatment centers, hospitals, schools, private practices, primary care, and other community agencies. We firmly believe that all nurses, regardless of their specialty or practice setting, can play a role in the promotion of healthy lifestyles and the early identification of people at greater risk of developing problems associated with substance use and other potential addictions.

Our values


Reinvigorating efforts to improve quality of care and quality of life for all persons impacted by substance use and addiction.


Recognizing the importance of helping others through caring. Instilling hope to those who feel hopeless and empowering those who are powerless.


Affirming and accepting the uniqueness of each person, including his or her ideals, values, culture, and ethnicity


Respecting the dignity and worth of every individual, grounded in the understanding that addictions, like other chronic health problems, can be prevented and treated.

Your web team

Our web is owed by its members which means we drive the content. It is really important to us that our members engage with us and we take a coproduced approach to the management of the site.


We have an estabished governance structure that oversees the running of our web and ensures that the content is relevant and kept up to date via the Web Editorial Board or WEB for short.   The WEB is currently chaired by Dr Carmel Clancy (President-elect) and supported by a Webmaster, with membership representatives from our key affiliates and IntNSA members – including:

  • Journal of Addiction Nursing: Dr Ann Mitchell (Journal Editor – elect)
  • The Foundation for Addictions Nursing (FAN)
  • Addiction Nursing Certification Board (ANCB)
  • The International Academy of Addictions Nursing (IAAN): Dana Murphy-Parker – current FIAAN
  • Region/Country Chapter Representatives

The WEB has responsibility to oversee the integrity and branding of the Society ensuring that it reflects the Society’s mission, vision and values.  The WEB meet virtually every six weeks, member representatives ensure that content related to their specific areas within the Society is maintained, and any activities related to updating members is provided and posted to the Webmaster.  In addition to usual business, WEB members will take a lead on other associated activities including: (1) social media activities and blogs, (2) within our online Academy assisting with the sourcing and development of new materials;  and (3) maintaining our community of practice platform.

The WEB offers a unique opportunity of getting involved in your Society – particularly if you have an interest in online/digital engagement, if you would like to discuss how you might get involved please contact Dr Clancy direct at c.clancy@mdx.ac.uk.

Foundation for Addictions Nursing (FAN)

The Foundation for Addictions Nursing (FAN) supports the mission of IntNSA. The primary activities of FAN are to cultivate resources to advance the profession of addictions nursing, develop partnerships with individuals and organizations, and, together with the members of the organization, identify initiatives to advance the specialty.