Lieutenant Mario Bastianelli
Lieutenant Bastianelli serves the city of Sterling Heights, Michigan as the Lieutenant of the Sterling Heights Police Department as well as the President of the Sterling Heights Drug-Free Coalition. His office submitted these responses to the American Opioid Podcast on 11/4/2019 11:13 AM.
If a resident in your city visited your office and said that he or she had some spare time and wanted to volunteer to help alleviate the opioid crisis, what kinds of activities would you recommend?
I would have the citizen particpate with our non-profit organization (The Sterling Heights Drug-Free Coalition). We combat all the substance abuse issues in our community. We provide resources and education to the public to get people the much needed help against addiction. We put on many free public events that we need volunteers like NARCAN training, Addiction 101 training. We also have other non-profits that assist us with the opioid problem also, like FAN- Families Against Narcotics, and Hope Not Handcuffs.
Recently, many overdoses are increasingly due to fentanyl. What can cities do to protect against this newest threat to public health?
Educate, provide resources like NARCAN training, and the police departments can create specialized units to target Heroin / Fentanyl dealers to help reduce the exposure and availability to the public.
How much support has your city received from federal and state government public health agencies, opioid safety coalitions, elected officials, and nonprofit organizations or foundations?
We have a lot of support from all of the above. It takes a TEAM from all of the groups to combat this issue. All parties need to have a vested stake in solving this epidemic.
If you had a magic wand that allowed you to pass any legislation you wanted in order to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state, what would that legislation look like?
More funding to allow non-profit organizations to succeed and provide resources for the possibility of recovery to the public. Furthermore, more funding to Police and Fire Departments for man power to directly target the opioid epidemic (This issue is very taxing on manpower).
Are there any additional resources your department could use that would help alleviate the crisis in your city?
Funding without all the government red tape. Federal grants are very difficult to obtain.