UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

A case study of the transformative effect of peer injection drug users in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, Canada Jozaghi, Ehsan; Reid, Andrew A.


This study was conducted not only to explore how peers intervene to shape social networks but to capture the transformative role of peer-led intervention by local needle exchange programs and a supervised injection facility in Vancouver, Canada. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with peer volunteers as they were involved in their routine work activities. Interviews were analysed thematically using two methods of coding analysis. Findings suggest that peers were taking on important education and safety roles and were able to alter the behaviour, attitude, and intention of injection drug users within the Downtown Eastside area of the city. Further, peer injection drug users were able to reach individuals who were reluctant to seek medical help, housing, or prevention services. Peers serve as an agent of change in the Downtown Eastside to disseminate information and risk-reduction skills to the most marginalized people.

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