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Stephen Forzato

2:00 - 3:00 PM

Educating those on the Front Lines of the Overdose and Substance Use Crisis – First Responders

Mr. Forzato currently directs the Center for Addiction and Recovery Education at Saint Joseph’s University and leads its “Phoenix Training” for first responders and related professionals.

Learning Objectives

1. Recognize unique opportunities police and related public service professionals have in connecting people to treatment for substance use disorder.

2. Understand how first responders learn and are influenced to change their behaviors.

3. Assess the level of public health engagement with police and first responders. 

4. Specify ways to better influence police and first responder interactions with people in active addiction.

Biography continued...

A graduate of the Pennsylvanian State University and the Saint Joseph’s University, Forzato began his law enforcement career at the Montgomery County (PA) District Attorney’s Office in 1986 as a Criminal Investigator specializing in the processing of homicide crime scenes.


In 1992, Forzato transferred to the Narcotic Enforcement Team (Montco NET) and for the next 27 years, investigated drug traffickers, pursuing them locally, nationally and internationally. Forzato worked in undercover roles posing as an addict, drug dealer, gun trafficker, human traffickers, and a high-stakes gambler in illegal bookmaking operations. In 2007, Forzato was promoted from Detective to Lieutenant where he supervised undercover detectives and 480 police officers in a drug task force.  Forzato was sworn-in as a federal agent in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force targeting suspected home-grown violent extremists (HVE’s) and U.S. residents with ties to terrorists operating overseas. In 2017, Forzato joined newly elected Attorney General Josh Shapiro as his Deputy Chief of Statewide Drug Initiatives. In this role, Forzato led new initiatives to address the fatal drug overdose crisis in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and assisted its civil investigation of pharmaceutical manufacturers.


Forzato was the case agent or supervisor in more than 100 wiretap investigations, dismantling drug trafficking organizations with sources of supply throughout the United States and foreign countries.  Investigations by Forzato and his team resulted in the seizures of thousands of pounds of drugs including kilograms of heroin and fentanyl, as well as the arrests of methamphetamine lab operators and pill mill doctors.  Seizures in those cases included millions in cash, dozens of high-end vehicles, an aircraft, homes of drug dealers and millions in cash and bank assets.


Forzato is qualified in local, state and federal courts as an expert in substance use, trafficking, and wiretapping. Forzato has interviewed hundreds of drug dealers, suppliers and users where he learned the drug trade. Forzato remains up to date on the current drug-trafficking trends internationally, nationally, and regionally.


Forzato taught thousands of local, state and federal law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and public health officials in training conferences. Topics included “Basic and Advanced Drug Investigations”, “Current Drug Trends”, “Electronic Surveillance and Wiretapping”, “Court Room Testimony”, “Report Writing”, “How to Develop Probable Cause”, “Ethics in Drug Investigations”, “Naloxone”, “Stigma”, “Addiction”, and “Connection to Treatment.”

Presentation Slides

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