P2P: Peer 2 Peer Support


Health Canada Substance Use and Addictions Program. 


Experiential workers, i.e. peer workers with lived/living experience, are important service providers that play a crucial role in supporting individuals that use substances in overdose response settings.  Working in these settings is stressful, and can have lasting social, mental and emotional impacts. Unlike other healthcare providers and first responders, experiential workers often lack access to institutional or occupational mental health supports. The Peer2Peer (P2P) project aims to identify, implement and evaluate peer-led support interventions for experiential workers in overdose response settings.

Eight focus groups led by experiential researchers were conducted and an intervention titled 'ROSE' was developed based on the key themes.  R stands for Recognition of Peer Work, O for Organizational Support, S for Skill Development and E stands for Everyone. Components of the ROSE model are currently being implemented at three sites of RainCity Housing in the Vancouver and Fraser Regions, and at SOLID Outreach Society in Victoria. 

Progress to date

The Peer2Peer project has received additional funding from the Health Canada SUAP grant to develop, implement, and evaluate a peer-led model of supports for peer workers in overdose response settings. This additional funding will scale up the project to cover all health authority regions in BC. The pilot project was conducted at SOLID Outreach Society in Victoria and RainCity Housing in Vancouver and Maple Ridge.

Participating sites for the scale-up project are:

  • AIDS Network, Outreach and Support Society (ANKORS) in Cranbrook,
  • Hope After Dope Society and KANDU in Kelowna,
  • Nanaimo Area Network of Drug Users (NANDU) in Nanaimo,
  • Lookout Housing and Health Society in Surrey, and
  • Uniting Northern Drug Users Undoing Stigma (UNDU) in Prince George.

Read the Health Canada announcement here.

 The video below summarizes the Peer2Peer Project and the ROSE model to increase recognition of peer worker roles in overdose prevention. 

Watch this video summarizing the Peer2Peer Project and the ROSE model.

We have produced resources to assist organizations to enhance supports for peer workers in overdose response settings. In collaboration with the partnering sites we have implemented a series of skills development workshops to enhance knowledge and skills of peer workers. We have published papers on the findings of the focus groups.  We have conducted an evaluation of the ROSE model with two sites and have prepared reports and publications of the outcomes as well as presentations regionally, provincially and nationally.  This project has also produced a number of guidelines for implementation of initiatives to assist peer works such use of pulse oximeters. Overall, this project is addressing a key issues to address health, safety and well being of peer workers.

You can find all project resources on the Toward the Heart website. Check out their , and Instagram!