Cresco Labs Suggests Medical Marijuana As Opioid Alternative

Cresco Labs is drawing awareness to a new Illinois program that allows the legal use of medical marijuana to patients prescribed opioids.

Tom, Dick & Harry Creative Co. recently created a vending machine to look like it dispenses opioids and placed it outside Chicago’s political hub, the Thompson Center. The point? Pain pill prescriptions seem as easy to obtain as soda bottles, and medical cannabis is a safer solution.

Drawn in by provocatively commercial graphics (“Got pain? Get relief!”), customers faced a grid of opioid prescription bottles in the high-traffic downtown location. But what the machine actually dispensed was a bottle containing a note educating people about the Cresco Labs Opioid Prescription Exchange program.

In addition to the vending machine, which was on display from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 28, Cresco Labs created a 20-foot wall of “NoBituaries,” or faux newspaper clippings telling the tales of Illinoisans who pushed through pain and addiction by replacing prescription opioids with medical cannabis.

TDH also developed a COPE landing page and a social media campaign using the #NOpioid hashtag that encourages people to tell their own personal story of replacing opioids with medical cannabis. Vending machine reactions were also captured on camera as shareable video content, with a larger out-of-home media plan currently under works with the help of Kelly, Scott & Madison, a Chicago-based media agency.

The target of the effort is anyone using opioids for pain management, knows someone who is (family member, etc.), or those who may need pain management assistance in the future, says Greg Reifel, managing partner of Tom, Dick & Harry Creative Company. 

“This effort is less about changing the conversation and more about broadly educating people about finally having an alternative to opioids,” Reifel tells Marketing Daily.

Opioid overdose deaths increased 10% nationally in 2017, the Center for Disease Control’s preliminary figures show, and 13.4% in Illinois over 2016, but the rise could be higher because many causes of death remain pending.

“The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on thousands of Illinois families, and we’re proud of our role in helping Cresco Labs elevate the awareness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids,” Reifel says.

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