The body of work of peer support programs targeting youth is heavily focused on mental health models involving young adult peer mentors. In Connecticut, for example, some work has taken place involving youth 18-25 with mental illness and/or substance use disorder issues where peers provide support and hope to other young adults with these conditions. In 2017, SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health noted a rise in the lifetime illicit drug use among Latino-Hispanic youth 12-17 and 18-25 from the previous year (2016). For 12 to 17-year old’s the percentage rose from 23.2 percent of youth in 2016 to 24.6 percent of all Latino-Hispanic youth in 2017. Similarly, for 18 to 25-year old’s, the percentage of lifetime used of illicit drugs rose from 51.1 percent in 2016 to 54.7 percent in 2017. It is therefore important to explore the options of addressing these rising rates through peer support models targeting Latino-Hispanic youth and young adults.
Ivette A. Torres, MEd., M.S., Former Associate Director for Consumer Affairs at the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Ms. Ana Martinez Gaona, YCPS
Ms. Juanita Aniceto Vera
Mr. John Johnston
Ms. Solmaira Trujillo