Volunteers to make house calls to doctors about opioids


, @KenSerranoAPP6:04 a.m. EDT September 27, 2016

As heroin deaths continue to climb, a deadlier threat emerges

Volunteers working to lower the death toll from the heroin epidemic will pay doctors a visit Oct. 6, delivering a message about what federal authorities believe is the best way to attack the crisis.

They will talk to doctors about guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on limiting opioid prescriptions for adults in an outpatient setting and exploring alternatives.

"Three days or less will often be sufficient; more than seven days will rarely be needed," the guidelines state. There are exceptions, such as the treatment of hospice patients or those with active cancer.

The door-to-door protest to lower opioid prescriptions, called "Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day," is the first nationally, said Angelo Valente, executive director of Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, which is behind the event.

"We believe many doctors are not as aware of the issue as they need to be about safe prescriptions," Valente said.

Dentists' offices will also be part of the campaign.

Interrupting a doctor's work day is something pharmaceutical salespeople do routinely, Valente said. And the effort has the support of pediatricians and dentists groups.

The Medical Society of New Jersey also issued a statement Monday saying they were in favor of the effort.

"We support all efforts that encourage patients to use prescription drugs responsibly, as our members continue to be on the front lines treating those patients who suffer from addiction," Mishael Azam, chief operating officer and senior manager of legislative affairs for the society, said in the statement.

That same day, volunteers will also fan out to neighborhoods to hang messages on door knobs to make the public more aware of the CDC guidelines, Valente said.

Valente expects more than 2,000 volunteers to take part in the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Training sessions are set for Tuesday at Fairleigh Dickinson University's School of Pharmacy, Room 209, 230 Park Ave., Florham Park, NJ 07932.

Another session is scheduled to be held Thursday at Rutgers EcoComplex Auditorium at 1200 Florence Columbus Road, Bordentown, NJ 08505.  Registration at both events runs from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and training, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Valente said organizers will contact those who cannot make the training sessions.To register, click here.

Organizers for each county will coordinate the visits, he said.

Ken Serrano: 732-643-4029;