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Health Promotion

Prevention & Health Promotion Programs in Portsmouth, OH

Communication: Raising awareness about healthy behaviors for the general public. Examples of communication strategies include public service announcements, health fairs, mass media campaigns, and newsletters.
Policy: Regulating or mandating activities by organizations or public agencies that encourage healthy decision-making.
Education: Empowering behavior change and actions through increased knowledge. Examples of education strategies include courses, training, and support groups.
Environment: Changing structures or environments to make healthy decisions more readily available to large populations.
“The process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. It moves beyond a focus on individual behavior towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions.” – World Health Organization

Health Promotion

Prevention and Health Promotion programs focus on keeping people healthy. Health Promotion engages and empowers individuals and communities to engage in healthy behaviors and make changes that reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and other morbidities.

Disease Prevention

Disease prevention is understood as specific, population-based and individual-based interventions for primary and secondary (early detection) prevention, aiming to minimize the burden of diseases and associated risk factors. Disease prevention focuses on strategies to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and other morbidities.


Unintentional and violence-related injuries cause nearly 180,000 deaths each year, and are the leading cause of death for people age 1 to 44. In addition, millions of people are treated in emergency rooms or hospitalized due to injuries each year. With physical and economic consequences, each year’s injuries lead to estimated lifetime costs of $406 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity.


Injury and disease cross all boundaries and can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex, race or socioeconomic background. While injury and disease have a significant burden, they are also largely preventable. Recognizing the social and economic burden of injury and disease is critical to determine the appropriate level of intervention and investment into prevention activities.

Prevention & Health Promotion

Prevention and Health Promotion programs often address social determinants of health, which influence modifiable risk behaviors. Social determinants of health are the economic, social, cultural, and political conditions, in which people are born, grow and live that affect health status. Modifiable risk behaviors include, for example, tobacco use, prior eating habits, and lack of physical activity, which contribute to the development of chronic disease.

The Drug-Free Communities Support Program (DFC) is a Federal grant program that provides funding to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent youth substance use.  Since the passage of the DFC Act in 1997, the DFC Program has funded more than 2,000 coalitions and currently mobilizes nearly 9,000 community volunteers across the country.

The philosophy behind the DFC Program is that local drug problems require local solutions. The primary purpose of the DFC program is to establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies; as well as federal, state, local, and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance use among youth and to reduce substance use among youth and, over time, reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.

In Ohio, the leading cause of death among those age 1 to 44 is injury and/or violence.  Injury and violence related deaths outpace all other causes combined, including heart disease, stroke, and cancer.  As such, Violence and Injury Prevention seeks to prevent and/or mitigate the potential causes and circumstances that can create injury and death.

Reviewing both state and local data highlights that the greatest risk for injury and death arises from substance use disorder, overdose, and subsequent substance use related health issues.  Locally, this data has been analyzed and used to help create targeted strategies and programming specific to our population needs.

The Portsmouth City Health Department and Office of Injury Prevention is committed to strengthening and sustaining effective injury prevention and control measures that reflect the significance of the issues that are present in the community.  The influx of illicit Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogues into communities have had devastating impacts and caused a staggering loss of life.  Recognizing these increased risks, the Portsmouth City Health Department and Office of Injury Prevention has endeavored to increase education, outreach, and harm reduction strategies all aimed at reducing the rate of both fatal and non-fatal overdose.

  • From 1999 to 2012, the number of deaths in Ohio due to unintentional drug overdose increased 485 percent, and the increase has been driven largely by prescription drug overdoses.
  • In Ohio, since 2007, there have been more deaths from drug overdose than from motor vehicle traffic crashes.
  • There were 327 fatal drug overdoses in 1999 and the number grew to 1,914 deaths in 2012.
  • Females represent the fastest growing group at risk for fatal prescription drug overdose.

Understanding that this is larger than the efforts of one agency, the Portsmouth City Health Department’s Office of Injury Prevention has sought out community, state, and federal partners to collaborate to ensure that comprehensive and innovative solutions are being implemented.

Currently, the Portsmouth City Health Department and Office of Injury Prevention can count among its many collaborative partners the Ohio Department of Health, Scioto County Collaborative Opioid Consortium, Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, Shawnee State University, Appalachian Regional Commission, the ADAMHS Board of Adams, Lawrence, and Scioto Counties, the Scioto County Health Coalition, Faith in Public Life, many faith leaders and churches, multiple criminal justice and law enforcement agencies and representatives, treatment facilities, local businesses, and private citizens.  It is through this collective response that the greatest impact is provided.

The Office of Injury Prevention at the Portsmouth City Health Department is funded by the Ohio Department of Health, Violence and Injury Prevention Section through the Injury Prevention: Drug Overdose Prevention grant.

As a part of this grant, the Office of Injury Prevention has also been able to join the Ohio Injury Prevention Partnership (OIPP) and the Ohio Overdose Prevention Network (OOPN) and the state Harm Reduction Subcommittee. This grant and the connections made through these affiliations have been instrumental in reducing the burden of risk throughout the community and the related injury and violence associated with that burden.

The Portsmouth City Health Department is committed to strengthening and sustaining effective injury prevention and control measures that reflect the significance of the problem. We strive to reduce prescription drug overdose rates through campaigns and programs such as Project DAWN: Deaths Avoided With Naloxone, Prescription for Prevention: Stop the Epidemic, and Prescription for Recovery.

Project DAWN – Deaths Avoided with Naloxone is a community-based Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution Program the seeks to increase the utilization and access to the life-saving overdose reversal drug Naloxone in the community setting, Project DAWN of Scioto County has presented at numerous state conferences and assisted the Project DAWN Programs that have since expanded across Ohio with programmatic set-up and program logistics. We offer Naloxone kits and education to community members and agencies.

Prescription for Prevention – Stop the Epidemic is a campaign developed by the Ohio Department of Health and implemented by Portsmouth City Health Department to raise awareness of the epidemic of prescription drug abuse and overdose. The focus of the program is to educate the community on what you can do to make your community a safe place, for example, how to safely dispose of medication.

Prescription for Community Recovery was funded by the Ohio Department of Health from 2010-2018, this Project worked to reduce the burden of Unintentional Overdose in Scioto County using a population-based approach that uses a combination of policy, systems change, education, and environmental responses designed to reduce factors which contribute to the incidence of overdose. This Project collaborated with numerous prescribers and pharmacies to increase access to Naloxone to patients at risk of overdose and to reduce the overprescribing of prescription opioids through medical education and promotion of “Ohio’s Opioid and Other Controlled Substance Prescribing Guidelines.”

We work in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Health, Scioto County Drug Action Team Alliance, Appalachian Regional ADAMHS (Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services) Boards, local law enforcement, treatment facilities, and many local businesses that choose to be a part of the solution to the prescription drug problem. Through these collaborations and programs, we hope to reduce injury rates and make our community a safer place.

Please contact Abby Spears, Injury Prevention Coordinator for more information at (740) 354-8910.

The Ohio Buckles Buckeyes Program is a child passenger safety program of the state of Ohio that provides child safety seats and booster seats to low income families in Ohio.

The goals of the program are to reduce the number of child traffic deaths, to increase the availability of child safety seats, to increase the use of child safety seats, and to increase the proper installation and use of seat belts.

Those who are permanent residents of Ohio who have children that require a car seat are eligible.

The families must meet WIC income guidelines but they do not need to be enrolled in the WIC program.

Prior to receipt of a child safety seat, families must attend a class provided by trained Child Passenger Safety staff.

State requirements for Child Passenger Safety

As of Oct. 7, 2009, Ohio’s child restraint law requires the following:

  • Children less than 4 years old or 40 pounds must use a child safety seat.
  • Children less than 8 years old, unless they are at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall must use a booster seat.
  • Children ages 8-15 must use a child safety seat or safety belt.
  • Children age 15 and older must wear a safety belt in the front seat
  • A driver between the ages of 15 and 17 may not have more passengers than there are seatbelts

Fines will range from a minimum of $25 to a maximum of $75 per occurrence. Second offense fines have a maximum of $250 and jail time to 30 days. A booster seat can be purchased for as little as $15.

It is advised that a children to stay in car seats or boosters as long as possible, even beyond the requirements of state law.The OBB program is overseen by The Ohio Department of Health and is in all 88 counties.

Each county receives a set number of car seats at intervals throughout the year.

These seats are distributed to children who are on WIC (Women Infants and Children) or who are WIC income eligible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I sign up for a car seat?
A: Go to the Portsmouth City Health Department at 605 Washington Street, Portsmouth, to complete the Ohio Buckles Buckeyes application. Applicants are contacted in date order (when the application was received) to schedule a car seat class.

Q: How long is the class?
A: Approximately 30-40 minutes.

Q: Do I have to bring my child?
A: No, but it is best if you do, as we fit the child into their car seat.

Q: What if I do not need a car seat, but want to take the educational class?
A: We encourage anyone who wants to learn about car seats to sit in on a class

The program will reduce the number of barriers to accessing substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, and other social services by managing each case individually and accessing all available resources.

The ultimate goal is to reduce drug related morbidity and mortality for Scioto County residence through the development of a navigation and follow up system.

  • Addiction Consultations
  • Assigned navigators to assist clients in accessing needed services.
  • Assistance with applying for medical insurance, CAC (certified application counselor) on site.
  • In house primary care and reproductive healthcare.
  • Linkage to care for treatment services.

We are a Public Health Navigation Program that serves as an access point for high risk individuals seeking help for addiction treatment, harm reduction, or other medical and social services.

Contact Us

Wirty Penix, BSBA


Lisa Roberts, RN


Rebecca Miller

DFC Assistant

Hannah Mathews, BS, CDCA


Ashley Monteith, BSHA, PRS


Chris Desotelle, BFA

Data Manager

Abby Spears

Injury Prevention Coordinator

605 Washington St.

Portsmouth, Oh 45662

Opening Hours:

Mon – Fri 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

After 4:30 p.m. this becomes our emergency contact number.
Call and follow instructions.

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