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public health issue in your community

Your Portfolio Project for this class is a community action plan designed to alleviate or correct a public health issue in your community. Your community can be any of the following areas: your community of residence, your business, your school, your community of birth, or former communities you lived. Consider the philosophical and ethical foundations of public health presented in Chapters 1 and 2 of Public Health Ethics and how your community’s issues compare to the authors’ presentation of global public health issues all communities face.

This week, for your discussion, tell us the public health issue and the community you are considering using for your Portfolio Project.

In your post, discuss your public health idea. Incorporate at least two references from a newspaper, trade magazine, website, or peer-reviewed journal that speak to the public health issue you have selected. One reference must tell about the specific public health problem in the community you have chosen to examine. The second reference must offer up a potential solution to the type of public health issue you have identified (it does not need to refer to your specific issue in the community you are working on).

Discuss any ethical, moral, or political responsibility, as described in Chapters 1 and 2 of Public Health Ethics, that you feel your community has to address. Next, review and comment on at least two other students’ posts by Sunday night. Your review must offer a helpful suggestion for each student’s proposed project. For example, you could suggest a resource, an organization, or a theory that could help the student along in his or her topic development. You might also mention a community-based ethical, moral, or political responsibility your classmate has not yet thought of sharing.



  • Thanking a classmate.
  • Agreeing with a classmate.
  • Complimenting a classmate.
  • Providing irrelevant commentary.

Always support your statements with logic and argument, citing any sources referenced. Post your initial response early and check back often to continue the discussion. Be sure to respond to your peers’ and instructor’s posts, as well.

classmate reaction #1:

Hello Class and Dr. Wright,

Portfolio Project Topic – Mental Health and Substance Abuse – Co-occurring Disorders.

The focus of my portfolio project Is not just the opioid crisis, but substance abuse in conjunction with mental health. Overdose deaths and substance abuse is not just affected by the use of opioid substances. There are many instances where substance abuse is a result of mental health issues. The substance abuse starts with self-medication in order to “ease” the mental health issues. In addition, substance abuse can create mental health issues in persons who did not previously have a mental health disorder and can exacerbate mental health disorders in those who have existing conditions (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2021).

The stigma associated with mental health and substance abuse is one that tends to shame those individuals with mental health disorders and the disease of addiction. This could be perceived as a moral issue, which as described in our text as society’s shared belief on addiction and mental health. This is why education on these topics is so important. It is important in order to understand the topics better and to work toward a community with a desire to work towards prevention. Prevention in the form of mental health awareness and more recovery resources for those in addiction are necessary for this public health issue.

In Stark County, Ohio the overdose fatality statistics are as follows (Stark County Health Department, n.d.):

  • 2018 – 75
  • 2019 – 113
  • 2020 – 131

This is in one county in one state. Imagine the statistics for the United States as a whole. These are not just statistics. These individuals were someone’s child, mother, father, etc. The Stark County Health Department also has a Community Health Improvement Plan for 2017-2019, which discusses mental health awareness and substance abuse prevention. This document, along with the Overdose Fatality Review (OFR) Stark County 2020: Annual Report outline ways to prevent and provide services to those with mental health disorders and the disease of addiction.

In addition to resources with those that suffer from mental health disorders and addiction, I believe there should also be resources for family members to cope with this disease. Addiction is a family disease, and it does not discriminate. Families also need to be provided the opportunity to learn about addiction because for those that do not have the disease, it is difficult to understand what addiction is. For anyone wishing to learn more about addiction, Kent State University has a great video entitled “Recovery Rocks” with Nicole Labor as the speaker. The video is quite lengthy but does a good job of explaining the disease. I have placed a link below. (Links to an external site.)



Stark County Health Department. (n.d.). Stark County Community Health Improvement Plan 2017-2019. cms7files1.revize.

Stark County Health Department. (n.d.). Overdose fatality review (OFR) Stark County 2020: Annual Report. cms7files1.revize.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021). Why is there comorbidity between substance use disorders and mental illnesses? National Institutes of Health.


For my portfolio project, I have chosen the issues with the very lethal narcotic Fentanyl. “  Two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal depending on a person’s body size, tolerance, and past usage.” (Drug Enforcement Administration, 2022). Fentanyl has become a crisis for a litany of reasons, one of the main reasons is because there is a lack of education on this narcotic and that this can be mixed with other drugs. The community that I am considering is the State of Colorado. There are parts of Colorado that are doing trying to tackle the issue head-on and there are other parts of Colorado that are ignoring the problem. Until there is an overreaching plan, there will always be a place where criminals will be able to hide.

There is a lot of national attention on fentanyl and so there are a lot of divides. One option is to let drug users to their own devices, even if they are taking a drug they do not know they are taking. The other side to that is that every life matters and that we need to fight to save every person. From a public health perspective and moral angel, I would argue that every life does matter.

In the article “Accidental Fentanyl deaths on the rise in El Paso County” by Miranda Paige, the death told over the last five years is staggering. In 2016 El Paso saw only 4 deaths that were a result of accidentally ingesting fentanyl. (Paige, 2022) Sadly, in 2021 that same cause took 102 lives (Paige, 2022). One of the reasons this drug is taking so many lives is that “ 1 out of 4 street drugs are now laced with fentanyl” (Paige, 2022). Dealing with substance abuse is already a difficult issue, but teaching drug addicts what to look for in the street drug they are buying may pose a problem.

These grim statistics are repeated in a special brief from Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. The special brief is called “Fentanyl in Colorado. Overview and recommendations for addressing the overdose crisis”.  As the title suggest this brief is about the crisis in the state of Colorado, accompanied by an explanation of the drug and the statistics. In the later have of this brief there is little hope. While there are new laws being discussed that may hurt the efforts of Public Health strategies, these briefs list other strategies that will be beneficial in the fight against fentanyl. “The most effective ways to address the overdose crisis are evidence-based public health and harm reduction strategies that keep people alive and maximize their potential for recovery.” (Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, 2022). I agree that there needs to be evidence-based outreach, there is no need to throw money away.


Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. (March 2022). Fentanyl in Colorado. Overview and recommendations for addressing the overdose crisis. Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. (Links to an external site.)

Drug Enforcement Administration. (2022). Facts about Fentanyl. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (Links to an external site.)

Paige, Miranda. (March 23, 2022). Accidental Fentanyl deaths on the rise in El Paso County. KKTV.