Using Substances

It’s not uncommon for students to use substances while attending post-secondary.

The use of substances can range from casual recreation use to serious addiction. As a peer you might interact or work with someone who is struggling with an addiction, but it is unlikely that supporting anyone with substance use issues will be within your scope of work.

You may be in a position where you can refer people to campus services, or even services within your community. It’s important to be aware of what is available locally for students.

Overdose is a big risk today. On February 9th, 2022, the Vancouver Sun reported that “2,224 people died from suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in 2021, a 26 per cent spike from 2020.”

Because of the risk of overdose, it’s recommended that everyone who works in peer support is trained in how to use Naloxone. Your campus likely already has a training program on Naloxone that you can access. If they don’t, you can get a kit at your local pharmacy, and the training is available online.

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. This means that in the event of an opioid overdose, it will temporarily block the body’s opioid receptors, reversing the overdose and saving a life. It is encouraged that peer support workers receive training in how to administer Naloxone and carry the treatment with them in the event their peer experiences an overdose.


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Post-Secondary Peer Support Training Curriculum Copyright © 2022 by Jenn Cusick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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