About this guide | Peer Support

About this guide | Peer Support

About this guide | Peer Support


The Peer Support Programs: A Guide for Local Drug Action Teams (the ‘Guide’) has been developed by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation to support Local Drug Action Teams (LDATs) to deliver effective Peer Support Programs.

This Guide provides the evidence-based resources needed to implement high quality and effective peer support programs, to help prevent and delay alcohol and other drugs (AOD) uptake by young people.

It draws on evidence from a number of fields including public health, alcohol and other drugs, peer support, and youth development and wellbeing. It was developed in consultation with LDATs.


The Guide has been developed for communities involved with the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Local Drug Action Team Program.

The Local Drug Action Team Program supports community organisations across Australia to work together to develop evidence informed initiatives to prevent and minimise alcohol and other drug related harms in their local area. LDAT members may include local councils, health centres, youth services, employment agencies, sports teams, schools, businesses and police, among others.

The Guide supports community organisations from across different sectors, including organisations that don’t have expertise or experience in the AOD field.


The purpose of this Guide is to support LDATs to deliver peer support programs in their local community.

The guide provides a ready reference manual, offering practical advice and guidance on how to deliver high-quality and effective Peer Support Programs that equip young people with the knowledge and skills needed to help prevent and minimise alcohol and other drug related harms among their peers.

In particular, it will help LDATs to:

  • ensure they have everything in place to deliver a successful Peer Support Program
  • deliver a program that is informed by evidence, and responsive to local data and need
  • streamline day-to-day operations
  • build knowledge and understanding of how to prevent and minimise AOD harm, and support young people to live healthy and fulfilling lives unlimited by alcohol and drug harm.

How to use this Guide

This Guide provides LDATs with everything you need to deliver high quality peer support programs in your local community, including:

  • Background information - builds your knowledge and understanding of important concepts in the alcohol and other drugs (AOD) field. LDATs can use this section to ensure that all community groups, partners, staff and volunteers understand the core concepts relating to community-based efforts to prevent alcohol and other drug harms.
  • Introduction to peer support - explores what peer support is and the short and long-term benefits of peer support programs for people delivering programs (peer supporters) and young people accessing programs. It helps LDATs understand peer support, and how Peer Support Programs can help to prevent and minimise AOD harms.
  • Program design and planning - outlines the key steps and considerations for designing and planning a Peer Support Program. It supports LDATs to develop peer support approaches that are informed by evidence, responsive to local data and needs, and can be used to support the development of Community Action Plans.
  • Recruiting and choosing peer supporters - defines the role of peer supporters and supports LDATs to recruit and choose appropriate peer supporters.
  • Training peer supporters - provides guidance on how to orient and train peer supporters at the beginning of the program. It supports LDATs to deliver a program orientation and training activities for peer supporters to ensure they possess the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to effectively support their peers.
  • Supervision for peer supporters - details the ongoing requirement to provide regular supervision and support to peer supporters. It supports LDATs to monitor activities and overall progress.
  • Program closure and evaluation - supports LDATs to close the peer support relationship and evaluate peer support programs.
  • Policies and procedures - provides policies and procedures to support LDATs to design, deliver and evaluate high-quality and effective peer support programs.
  • Useful resources - provides links to useful resources.
  • Glossary - contains key terms and definitions relevant to the prevention of alcohol and other drug harms and building strong and resilient communities.

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