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Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment


Peer support, Recovery, Substance misuse, Communities of care, Hope broker


Peer support in substance use recovery assists individuals who seek long-term recovery by establishing supportive and reciprocal relationships that support the initiation and maintenance of recovery. Prior research has found that peer support workers provide essential services to individuals in recovery, while the experience of the peer and their integration into a system of care has yet to be fully explored. This qualitative study explored the peer worker’s experience as a provider of recovery support services in a system of care. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 peer support workers. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using qualitative data analysis software. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes and patterns inductively from the data. Peer support worker experiences included challenges establishing credibility, frustrations in managing systemic barriers, a lack of understanding as to what the role of peer worker entails by stakeholders, and skepticism from other providers about the value of the position. Positive experiences included a decrease in the perception of stigma about substance use and feeling valued. Supervision played a key role in the success of the peer worker role, with concerns related to supervisors who are not in recovery. This study highlighted improvements in the integration of peer support workers in systems of care and regard for the role by professionals. A widespread understanding of the role and scope of practice is lacking and a need for better support for the role through avenues such as training, and supervision exists.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


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