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The use of peer-based recovery support has grown substantially in the last five years. However, given ongoing high rates of opioid overdose and addiction, another peer-based workforce has not received enough attention: peers who use drugs. Just as there is a long history of peers in recovery supporting peers seeking recovery, there is a similarly long history of drug-using peers helping one another stay safe and alive. This presentation describes a peer-based program that employs people who use drugs to distribute naloxone and sterile injection equipment in Pittsburgh, PA. It reviews basic harm reduction principles, the peer-based program model, and data on program effectiveness.
Sarah Danforth is the Harm Reduction Services Coordinator for Prevention Point Pittsburgh. She has worked in harm reduction and homeless outreach for over ten years, including as a peer support specialist with the PATH Team in Western North Carolina. She is pursuing a Master degree in Public Health through the Bloomberg American Health Initiative Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.