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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Peer Support and Overdose Prevention Responses: A Systematic 'State-of-the-Art' Review
Author(s): Mercer, Fiona
Miler, Joanna Astrid
Pauly, Bernie
Carver, Hannah
Hnízdilová, Kristina
Foster, Rebecca
Parkes, Tessa
Keywords: harm reduction
peer support
peer-involved interventions
illicit drug use
overdose prevention
lived experience
systematic review
state-of-the art review
Issue Date: Nov-2021
Date Deposited: 18-Nov-2021
Citation: Mercer F, Miler JA, Pauly B, Carver H, Hnízdilová K, Foster R & Parkes T (2021) Peer Support and Overdose Prevention Responses: A Systematic 'State-of-the-Art' Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (22), Art. No.: 12073.
Abstract: Overdose prevention for people who use illicit drugs is essential during the current overdose crisis. Peer support is a process whereby individuals with lived or living experience of a particular phenomenon provide support to others by explicitly drawing on these experiences. This review provides a systematic search and evidence synthesis of peer support within overdose prevention interventions for people who use illicit drugs. A systematic search of six databases (CINAHL, SocINDEX, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, Scopus, and Web of Knowledge) was conducted in November 2020 for papers published in English between 2000 and 2020. Following screening and full-text review, 46 papers met criteria and were included in this review. A thematic analysis approach was used to synthesize themes. Important findings include: the value of peers in creating trusted services; the diversity of peers’ roles; the implications of barriers on peer-involved overdose prevention interventions; and the stress and trauma experienced by peers. Peers play a pivotal role in overdose prevention interventions for people who use illicit drugs and are essential to the acceptability and feasibility of such services. However, peers face considerable challenges within their roles, including trauma and burnout. Future interventions must consider how to support and strengthen peer roles in overdose settings.
DOI Link: 10.3390/ijerph182212073
Rights: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
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