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Focus Areas

Evidence Based Practices

The Peer Recovery Center of Excellence (PR CoE) aims to bridge the gap between peer recovery support services (PRSS) evidence-based practices and practice-based evidence. 

One of the goals of the PR CoE is to increase the amount of evidence and research on the efficacy of peer practice. Additionally, we want to enhance the dissemination of these resources and increase accessibility. We do this work by hosting trainings, creating and disseminating resources, and providing technical assistance (TA) around PRSS evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence.

The emergence, growth, and maturity of peer recovery support services (PRSS) have radically changed the addiction field, opening a range of formalized supports that did not previously exist for people in or seeking recovery from addiction. Peer services have become an increasingly prominent part of the addiction recovery field and workforce. This progression is guided by the increasing professionalization of peer services and external factors that include advancements in science defining addiction as a chronic brain disease, recovery-oriented systems of care (ROSC) as a vehicle to extend the care continuum, and shifts in health care funding and practice through policies.

Unfortunately, peer services have been met with skepticism in many parts of the addiction recovery field, with questions generally centering on their efficacy and value. Some of these questions are based on the relative newness of peer services; the shift it brings to organizations, services, and systems; stigmatizing attitudes that persist about the lived experience of addiction; and the lack of credibility attributed to community wisdom. Most of the outstanding questions regarding peer services boil down to: What are the outcomes, and what is the evidence that it works? As more and more peer services become established as evidence-based practices, they will become more fully embedded in the overall field as strong components of recovery-oriented systems of care, and be eligible for dedicated funding and reimbursement to ensure their sustainability.

In addition to resource development, the PR CoE offers tailored TA to anyone seeking best practices for the provision of PRSS. Early in our program, we published a literature review to synthesize the current evidence on this topic and identify persisting gaps in the research. We are also in the midst of hosting ongoing listening sessions with statewide Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs) with the following goals:

  • Summarize the range of services offered by statewide RCOs and statewide peer networks, with a focus on how they support peer recovery sites and peer workers in their states.
  • Examine the distinct types and components of statewide RCOs and statewide peer networks.
  • Identify the strengths, opportunities, and challenges of supporting peer work in state contexts.
  • Identify emerging best practices in support of peer sites and peer practice.

Additional Information about Evidence-Based Practices in PRSS

One-Stop Shopping for Recovery: An Investigation of Participant Characteristics and Benefits Derived From U.S. Recovery Community Centers, John F. Kelly, Robert L. Stout, Leonard A. Jason, Nilofar Fallah-Sohy, Lauren A. Hoffman, Bettina B. Hoeppner, Feb. 2, 2020

Study of recovery community organization participants over time shows peer-based recovery support activities are associated with modest improvement in recovery capital, Recover Research Institute,

The Recovery Research Institute notes, “the nature and specificity of the recovery value conferred by these centers await confirmation through more rigorous controlled investigation, but the preliminary findings here suggest RCCs may provide a unique function in helping participants build recovery capital.”

This article outlines a study of RCO participants, that over time showed that peer recovery support services are associated with modest improvement in recovery capital.

Products and Resources



Peer Recovery Support: Evolving Roles and Settings: A Literature Review

The Peer Recovery CoE is pleased to share Peer Recovery Support: Evolving Roles and Settings: A Literature Review. Peers serve many roles in many settings. There is emerging research that explores the value of using peer recovery support services (PRSS) across these settings. This literature review was put together in an effort to gather all of the information into one place as well as identify gaps in order to make recommendations for the future. In it, you will find an overview of current settings utilizing peer recovery support services, key findings, and recommendations for future study. This information deepens our understanding of the peer roles, job functions, and tasks in a wide range of settings. The research is promising—and there is much more to do to grow PRSS further.


Curriculum or Toolkit

A Decade of Peer Culture, Support & Leadership: Igniting Behavioral Health Transformation in Philadelphia

From Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), this report celebrates the powerful contribution made by peer support staff and people in recovery each and every day by providing a summary and analysis of the results of and recommendations from the 2015 peer support asset-mapping process and by identifying next steps in our commitment to long-term recovery and the central role of peer culture, support and leadership.


Curriculum or Toolkit

Ecosystem of Recovery

The Ecosystem of Recovery reflects the approach we are using in the Appalachian region of New York State to create broader access to and community-wide support for evidence-based and emerging best practices in opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment. This approach may be a helpful framework for other rural communities on this journey. It begins by establishing partnerships across the community to provide patients with access to treatment in their homes, emergency departments (EDs), and treatment centers. It ends with community-wide support for patients in recovery and care management integrated into primary care practices. The system is designed to increase screening, provide timely access to treatment, sustain long-term recovery, and engage primary care providers in a system of care.


The Team

The University of Missouri - Kansas City’s Collaborative to Advance Health Services receives funding for the Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network Coordinating Office and the Mid-America ATTC Regional Center. ATTCs have been at the forefront of the transformation to recovery-oriented systems of care (ROSC), of which peer recovery support is a key element. The Collaborative's mission is to advance health and wellness by bringing research to practice, supporting organizations through change processes and providing high quality training and technical assistance to the healthcare workforce. 

Areas of expertise include building and maintaining comprehensive infrastructure to promote local, regional and national multidisciplinary collaborations, expertise in implementation science research, developing innovative multi-media products, publishing and disseminating findings in peer-review journals, providing leadership development to the field, and translating, disseminating, and promoting the adoption and implementation of evidence-based and promising clinical practices in behavioral health.

Adam Viera

PR CoE Co-Director


Shannon Roberts

Coordinating Center; Team Lead, Evidence Based Practices


Onawa P. LaBelle

Steering Committee, Evidence Based Practices

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Peer Service Integration

We are focused on supporting the integration of peer recovery support services (PRSS) into new and expanding settings.
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RCO Capacity Building

We are focused on building the capacity of Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs).
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Peer Workforce Development

We are focused on developing the peer and peer supervision fields.
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Evidence Based Practices

We are focused on bridging the gap between evidence-based practices and practice-based evidence.
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Health Equity

We are focused on incorporating a lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging in the work of peers, organizations, communities, and of the Peer Recovery Center of Excellence.
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Funding for this initiative was made possible by grant no. 1H79TI083022 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.