Date of Award

Summer 8-13-2019

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Shanta Rishi Dube

Second Advisor

Steve Evener


In the wake of the opioid epidemic, there is a need to provide sound educational materials that provide succinct and consolidated information on substance use and their disorders. Substance abuse is a public health epidemic and rates of substance abuse in the United States has been growing substantially. Childhood trauma has been shown to be a predictor of engagement in risky behaviors, like substance abuse and risky sexual behaviors later in life. The rates of HIV/STDs have been increasing alongside increases in substance use. Substance use has been found to raise the risk of a person engaging in risky sexual behavior. Thus, the purpose of this capstone project was to create an educational pamphlet for individuals to learn about the epidemiology, and risks of various substance abuse. The target audience for the pamphlet are MPH students and recent MPH graduates; public health professionals who may work in other fields; substance abuse researchers at the CDC, or CDC researchers moving into substance abuse research from an outside field. The pamphlet covers four of the most commonly abused substances:alcohol, opiates, amphetamines, and cannabis. There are four sections covering each type of substance with information on: 1) What the substance is with both scientific and general language: 2) Mechanisms of how the substance interacts with neurotransmitters; 3) the areas of the brain affected by the substance. The pamphlet also includes a table for each type of substance and current federal, state, and local initiatives to address the public health problem.

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