A nervous and trepidatious world eagerly awaits the pending release of the comprehensive paper on opioid use from the Executive Committee (EC) of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC). While we wait, I thought I would make a few suggestions to “ease the tension” and make the release the middling success it would have been anyway had the offer of my help never been tendered.
For the uninitiated, oblivious or blissfully unaware, the IAIABC had embarked on a yearlong project to develop model opioid rules and legislation that states could use, as a guide, to craft their own programs addressing the burgeoning opioid abuse problem in this country. For some reason it was believed that 20,000 people dying from prescription drug overdoses every year was a problem. The Medical Committee of the IAIABC toiled in the basement boiler room for more than a year to accomplish this task, basing their resultant work on the successful efforts of Texas and Washington State. The entire project culminated in a tremendous finale when the EC met, wadded up their work and flushed it down the toilet, apparently deciding that the opioid crisis wasn't everything it was cracked up to be, and the states were better off fumbling around in the dark.
Of course, the EC did not expect the uproar that this would cause, so they sort of reversed course, slightly anyway, and kind of issued an official proclamation that opioids were still bad, and that they were committed to addressing bad things. They announced that they would do what all good bureaucratic policy wonks do when facing a crisis that kills 20,000 people a year; they would write a paper.
And here we are, waiting for the guidance and leadership so sorely needed on this issue. As I mentioned prior, I have some ideas for the EC on this particular project:
- Release date – We have several good options for the release of this momentous paper. March 17th, St. Patrick's Day would be a good choice. Everyone will be heavily intoxicated and likely more receptive to their suggestions and appeal. Plus, they could probably benefit from the luck of the Irish, as they will need all the help they can get.
April 1st , otherwise known as April Fool's Day, would be another excellent date, for reasons that should be obvious to most.
April 12th is an excellent choice, as it is “Big Wind Day”. (I'm not making that up. Check the link)
April 14th would also work well, as it is the anniversary date of the Titanic striking an iceberg. (Although it did not sink until the 15th, so depending on desired imagery they may want that date instead)
- Publishing Medium – I would not put this paper online, or anywhere it might propagate without careful controls, at least until its message is thoroughly vetted. I would not even put it on a flash drive, instead opting to print it only on Flash paper. That way, if it is received in any manner similar to the EC's original flushing vote, they could immediately eliminate it, destroying all evidence of their work with the simple touch of a cigarette. The resulting fireball might even garner a few “oohs and aahs” from an otherwise less than admiring audience.
- Title – This is critical. I have learned through trial and tribulation that a good title – a fetching headline if you will – is critical to building successful readership. This is even more critical when you are a talentless hack such as I. Therefore, it is essential that the EC give this an appropriate appellation. I would suggest they consider the following options:
a) Hey, They're Just Opioids! – This title would be most useful if the paper they craft takes a look at the lighter side of death through prescription drug overdose.
b) Hemorrhoids and Opioids; How The Nations‘ Prescription Drug Problem Became Our Giant Pain In The Butt
c) Established Interrogatory Examining Integrated Opioids – This would, of course, become known as the IAIABC EIEIO, a seminal moment for the organization and its leadership (a term I currently use loosely).
So there you have it. Some simple suggestions to make the medicine go down just a little more smoothly.
Of course, I do have one other suggestion, which I suppose would supersede all others offered prior.
Scrap the paper. Assume the mantel of leadership on this highly critical topic. Dare to be more than just “those EDI guys”. Revisit and approve model rules and regulations for opioid management. I've said it before; the IAIABC has some very strong, highly effective people in it. I have been previously very impressed with their commitment and concern, and have held that organization in very high regard. They are better than the petty politics that blocked this effort.
They should show that ability to the world by leading on this issue.