For people who are new to peer support specialists, there can be a lot of questions about who they are, what they do and how they help people find recovery. Here's a quick overview to help you understand the value of peer specialists. Have additional questions? Share them with

What is a peer specialist?

A peer recovery support specialist (P-RSS) is an occupational title of trained individuals who engage with peers in a community-based recovery center, outside a program around any number of activities, and over the telephone.

Peer Specialist Frequently Asked Questions

what services does a peer specialist provide?

The following examples are from SAMHSA:

  1. Peer mentoring or coaching—developing a one-on-one relationship in which a peer leader with recovery experience encourages, motivates, and supports a peer in recovery
  2. Peer recovery resource connecting—connecting a person new to recovery with professional and nonprofessional services and resources available in the community.
  3. Recovery group facilitation—facilitating or leading recovery-oriented group activities, including support groups and educational activities.
  4. Building community—helping people in recovery make new friends and build healthy social networks through emotional, instrumental, informational, and affiliation types of peer support.

are peer SPECIALISTS a sponsor?

No. Peer support specialists are not affiliated with any specific recovery path and embrace all pathways to recovery.

how can i find a peer specialist?

The best way to find a peer support specialist is through a Recovery Community Organization (RCO). To find your nearest RCO, click here.

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are peer specialists trained?

Yes. Peer support specialists receive formal training and certifications.

What does a peer specialist do?

By sharing their experiences, peers bring hope to people in recovery and promote a sense of belonging within the community.

What makes a person qualified to be a peer specialist?

Lived experience with the disease and formal training.

Do you share my information with anyone?

This depends on the employer of the peer support specialist and the situation.  If the specialist is working for the judicial system, they may be required to share some information. In addition, if the individual who is new to recovery finds themselves in a dangerous situation or in crisis, the peer specialist will connect with people who can help.

How much does a peer specialist cost?

Peer support specialist can be volunteers and cost nothing, or they may work for a recovery program where insurance will cover their costs.