Individual contributors

This website has been developed by the Trimbos Institute (Dutch expertise center on menatl health and addiction) and Correlation Network.

  • John-Peter Kools, expert on drugs and health and harm reduction, commissioned by the Trimbos Institute
  • Jason Farroll, drug user activist and professional trainer
  • Jane Fountain, Emeritus Professor of Substance Use Research
  • Eberhard Schatz, programme manager at Regenboog Group
  • Katrin Schiffer, programme manager at Regenboog Group
  • Franz Trautmann, Head International Affairs, Trimbos Institute

Other participants of the advisory group:

  • Tuomas Ahonen
  • Cas Barendregt
  • Lorenzo Cameletto
  • Thierry Charlois
  • Theo van Dam
  • Jean-Paul Grund
  • Elin Halvorsen
  • Katerina Jiresova
  • Joana Marques
  • Mika Mikkonen
  • Maria Vitoria Mourao
  • Vlastimil Necas
  • Pavel Nepustil
  • Fabrice Olivet
  • José Queiroz
  • Arne Randers-Pehrson
  • Mat Southwell
  • Berne Stalenkranz
  • Susanna Terra

Regenboog Foundation

Foundation Regenboog Group (FRG) co-ordinates the programme and network activities Correlation since 2004. FRG is an NGO committed to people with social problems, homelessness, drug/alcohol use and those with psychiatric problems.

The organisation provides shelter, relief and aid, drug consumption rooms, occupational therapy and work, and reintegration projects.  FRG also seeks to prevent social isolation with ‘buddy’ projects and supports marginalised people to take an active role in society.  Empowerment of clients is a keyword in all FRG’s activities.

FRG has been active in Amsterdam for more than 35 years. It employs more than 150 professionals and works with 600 volunteers.  The FRG has 9 drop-in centres all over Amsterdam, 2 needle exchange programmes and 4 drug consumption rooms.  In 2010, FRG, provided and exchanged 97,000 sterile syringes to prevent infections among injecting drug users.  The FRB is a well-run, cost efficient NGO and has a nationally acknowledged quality certificate. Sponsors of FRG’s work include local churches and corporations, local government, and individuals.

FRG has a low threshold, hands-on approach, and years of experience in harm reduction and of involving target groups in all stages of service provision.  FRG does this at a practical level, including decision-making.  For example, all departments involve the target group/consumers of services in 'client councils’ in order to adapt and optimise the services to the particular needs of people using the services.

Correlation is an initiative on health and social inclusion in Europe.

The overall aim of Correlation is to tackle health inequalities and to improve prevention, care and treatment services, targeting blood-borne infection diseases (in particular HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis) among vulnerable and high-risk populations (e.g. drug users, young people at risk and sex workers).

The programme includes an extensive grassroots network of more than 180 organisations throughout Europe. Correlation is coordinated by the Foundation Rainbow Group in the Netherlands.

One of the key activities of the Correlation programme is the development and support of peer-based activities.

During 2009-2011, an international working group of 24 expert members (including people who use drugs, drug service providers, drug user activists, researchers and academics) from 12 European countries contributed to the development of this website on peer involvement.  Members were chosen to ensure participation by all the regions across Europe.  The major aim of the working group was to develop a modern and accessible resource on peer-based work that would inspire and support peer activities all over Europe.

In 2010 and 2011, we co-organised national seminars on peer work in Portugal, Sweden, France and Finland.  During these seminars, a total of over 900 experts discussed and worked on the establishment of peer initiatives in the four countries.

More information on Correlation can be found on their website:

Our philosophy

We believe that  peer involvement is essential and very powerful.  It is more than just an instrument, it is a guiding principle and should become common practice.

We have put a major focus on the ‘meaningful involvement’ of peers and have concentrated our work on the more participatory forms of engagement,  Active, free and meaningful participation in all aspects of drugs/health responses, like informing peer colleagues on HIV risk, contribute to an overdose training, participate in an HCV treatment support group, contributing to develop a local drug strategy, peer work in NGO service delivery or initiate, particpate in a client advisory group and so on.

Although we can define key principles of good peer involvement and can highlight brilliant examples of good practices in peer work, there is no ‘best option’ for peer involvement. There is no ‘one size that fits all’ because each initiative has to consider local conditions, the specific needs of the local target group, the feeling of urgency among (other) peers and the extent of support from other relevant stakeholders, donors (funders) and agencies.

This website is based on the approach that members of the target group are not defined merely as people who might have problems:  people are not the problem, they are part of the solution. Most importantly, peers (members of the target group) are ready and willing to become involved in peer work not only because they can benefit from participation themselves, but because it might bring positive changes for their friends and loved ones.