Peers are people who are actively using drugs, doing sex work, living unhoused, and/or with mental illness. Having peers volunteer, work for, and run harm reduction organizations is critical to ensure that (following the Principles of Harm Reduction) “drug users and those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.” and to “affirm drug users themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use”.
Moreover, more than 30 years of HIV prevention and other public health practice clearly demonstrates that programs with peer involvement have better outcomes than those that don’t.
The following four articles in this section discuss why and how to involve peers in your program and addresses many of the top issues that programs and peers face regarding hiring and retaining peers.
During our development Harm Reduction Hacks have collected together a large number of resources from around the web you can find these in our resource folder in Google Docs. We are also always looking for more so help us by suggesting any resources we may have missed.
We do not claim that this is an exhaustive set of strategies, shortcuts, or tips for running an SSP. What we do suggest is that Harm Reduction Hacks offers down-to-earth, practical information for being a better leader, starting and running an SSP, and providing syringe access services. We feel we can say this with confidence because the Hacks are based on interviews with, and the experiences of, literally generations of people who have been doing harm reduction work.
Please note that nothing in this guide should be construed as legal advice. Please consult an attorney local to your area to ensure your program is in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations that apply to your situation.