Workforce Development Hacks for SSPs

The Sticky

These are some of the thorniest issues faced when hiring peers:

  • Special accommodations for people who use drugs (PWUD) – ideally, allow people who use drugs to adjust their work schedules and responsibilities to their needs as much as possible.
  • Workplace disciplinary issues – issues should be documented and handled exactly like any other employee subject to progressive disciplinary action.
  • Professional boundaries – because they are from the community, peers occasionally struggle to maintain professional boundaries so it’s important to concretely discuss the differences in responsibility between being a community member or friend and being a professional. This includes, but is not limited to, participant confidentiality and employee safety.
  • Drug-free workplace – many organizations must sign “drug-free workplace” pledges established in the 1980s. No one who signs these pledges is required to drug-test employees.

More Resources

Don’t reinvent the wheel
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.
Suggest a Resource


The hacks on this site are shared with you under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence. This allows you (with attribution) to adapt content for your own use, although we do ask you to then also allow others to have equal access to anything you develop. More details of this licence can be found on the Creative Commons website.


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. 

Harm Reduction Hacks site design and implimentation by Nigel Brunsdon

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