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The Involvement and Engagement of Peers in Research

Edited by: Annie Madden, Prof Jo Neale & Prof Carla Treloar

As far back as 2003, AIVL (the national peer-based drug users’ organisation in Australia) published its “National Statement on Ethical Issues in Research Involving Illicit/Injecting Drug Users” with the aim of asserting the role of peers in all aspects of the research process and in identifying and setting ethical standards for research practice. This highly regarded and well-cited paper is still the only guidance document of its kind globally. Interest in peer-based approaches continued with “Nothing About Us Without Us – Greater, Meaningful Involvement of People Who Use Illegal Drugs: A Public Health, Ethical, and Human Rights Imperative - International Edition” in 2008, which also sought to foreground the role and importance of peer-based approaches in all areas of harm reduction policy and practice including in research. Despite this early work, it is really only in the last 10 years that there has been a significant international expansion of interest and activity in relation to peer-based research. Peer involvement in research has different names and can take many forms. For example, peers may lead on studies or collaborate with others on studies as partners. When done well, peer involvement can benefit research in many ways. When done badly, it can lead to tokenism and even exploitation.

This special series in Harm Reduction Journal examines research reports based on both peer-led and collaborative research projects.

The guest editors receive financial support from the Centre for Social Research in Health. The guest editors declare no further competing interests.

This special series was supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundations.

  1. Content type: Methodology

    Traditional research about substance use disorder (SUD) treatment is considered, among an increasing number of service users, to be disempowering and poorly reflective of their priorities. Thus, this methodolo...

    Authors: Henning Pettersen, Morten Brodahl, Jeanette Rundgren, Larry Davidson and Ingrid Amalia Havnes

    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:40

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  2. Content type: Methodology

    Peer-led programs with people who use drugs (PWUD) have been a key characteristic of the harm reduction in many countries, including their involvement in research. However, peer involvement in research is ofte...

    Authors: Graham Brown, Sione Crawford, Gari-Emma Perry, Jude Byrne, James Dunne, Daniel Reeders, Angela Corry, Jane Dicka, Hunter Morgan and Sam Jones

    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:37

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  3. Content type: Commentary

    Equipment used by people who inject drugs (PWID) either has a needle which is fixed to the syringe or can be detached and replaced. Detachable low dead space syringes (LDSS) have been developed, with less spac...

    Authors: Deborah Hussey, Zoe Trinder-Widdess, Cassie Dee, Darren Bagnall, Tatty Bojangles and Joanna May Kesten

    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:36

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  4. Content type: Research

    This study was to characterize the Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) in Shanghai, China, and to explore factors associated with the decline of patients in MMT during 2005–2016.

    Authors: Lei Zhang, Jiayi Bao, Amy Harrington, Xiaoduo Fan, Zhen Ning, Jingying Zhang, Daqing Shi, Manji Hu, Zhirong Zhou, Zhengyi Cai, Min Zhao and Jiang Du

    Citation: Harm Reduction Journal 2019 16:34

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