Peer support glossary

Peer support glossary

Peer support glossary

This section contains key terms and definitions relevant to the prevention of alcohol and other drug (AOD) harms and building strong and resilient communities.

Community development A process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.

Evidence-informed activities Activities that are based on research and have been shown to be effective in achieving their intended outcome. In the context of AOD, evidence-informed activities have demonstrated a positive impact on communities in preventing and delaying AOD uptake and harms. Examples of evidence-informed AOD activities include peer support, mentoring and positive parenting.

Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) LDAT is a nationwide program that collaborates with community groups to prevent and minimise the harms caused by alcohol and other drugs.

Local Drug Action Teams are a partnership of local organisations that are committed to working together to develop evidence-informed initiatives to prevent harms from alcohol and other drugs in their community. LDATs may include local councils, health centres, youth services, employment agencies, sports teams, schools, businesses and police, among others.

Peer support Peer support is simply ‘young people helping young people’. Peer support among recognises their skills and abilities in helping others to solve problems.21 It involves training and supporting young people to share information with peers who have similar characteristics, in order to achieve positive health outcomes.

Prevention Prevention is the act of stopping something from happening or arising. In the context of AOD, prevention refers to preventing and delaying AOD uptake, and minimising the harms caused by alcohol and other drugs.

Prevention is an important part of a comprehensive harm reduction approach, particularly among young people. Prevention is sometimes broken down into three categories: primary prevention, secondary prevention and tertiary prevention.

Primary prevention Primary prevention is directed towards preventing the initial occurrence of a problem or disorder. In the context of AOD, primary prevention strategies help people to avoid, reduce or modify alcohol and other drug use, rather than reacting to a problem that requires acute treatment or an emergency response. Primary prevention strategies involve addressing the risk factors associated with early age alcohol and other drug use, as well as enhancing the protective factors.

Protective factor Protective factors are factors that are known to reduce harms from AOD. Protective factors may moderate the influence of risk factors to reduce the likelihood of AOD use in young people, delay the uptake of AOD use in young people, and reduce harm should young people engage in AOD use. Examples of protective factors include having a sense of connection and belonging, and positive role models, including around AOD.

Risk factor Alcohol and other drug harms are influenced by a range of modifiable factors that are likely to predict or prevent substance use during adolescence. Risk factors can increase the likelihood of a young person using alcohol and other drugs or experiencing harm from alcohol and other drug use. Risk factors include social disconnectedness, lack of skills, lack of strong role models/mentoring and not feeling positive about the future.

Secondary prevention Secondary prevention seeks to identify risk factors and early warning signs through screening for early detection and treatment, resulting in a decrease in the number of cases of a disorder or illness.

Stigma Stigma is the process whereby an individual or group of people are held in contempt, ‘othered’ or viewed in a negative way because of their behaviour or a characteristic they possess. These characteristics or behaviours are considered outside of what is generally perceived as ‘normal’.

People who are stigmatised are often generalised and stereotyped, socially excluded or unequally treated, and blamed for experiencing disadvantage.

Tertiary prevention Tertiary prevention focuses on effectively treating conditions and preventing their reoccurrence, as well as addressing the reciprocal and compounding effect of self-medication or under-treatment.

Young people Young people refers to people aged 12-24 years.

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