By The Chicago Egotist / /
Vending machine introduces COPE exchange program one day after Illinois Governor extends medical marijuana bill
On the heels of Gov. Bruce Rauner signing State Bill 336, which extends the legal use of medical marijuana to individuals who are prescribed opioids, Cresco Labs is drawing awareness to its new program COPE (Cresco Labs Opioid Prescription Exchange) in a refreshing way. This Friday is also “International Overdose Awareness Day.”
On Wed. August 28, with help from Tom, Dick & Harry Creative Co. (TDH), the medical cannabis company is programming a vending machine to look like it dispenses opioids and placing it outside Chicago’s political hub: the Thompson Center. The point? Pain pill prescriptions seem as easy to obtain today as a soda bottles, and medical cannabis is a safer solution.
Drawn in by provocatively commercial graphics (“Got pain? Get relief!”), customers will be faced with a grid of opioid prescription bottles in the high-traffic downtown location. But what the machine will actually dispense is a medical cannabis bottle containing a note that educates people about Cresco Labs Opioid Prescription Exchange (COPE) program. COPE was created to give patients something long overdue: choice. Opioids no longer are the only solution for pain management. With the help of Cresco Labs and the COPE campaign, patients can now take control and replace their opioid prescription with medical cannabis.
Opioid overdose deaths increased in 2017, the CDC’s preliminary figures show, especially those linked to Fentanyl, a drug that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. This is a 10% increase nationally and 13.4% in Illinois over 2016, but the rise could be higher because many causes of death remain pending.
“This is a great day for Illinois because patients finally have a choice for pain management,” said Greg Reifel, Managing Partner of Tom, Dick & Harry Creative Co. “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.”
In addition to the vending machine, which will be on display from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Cresco Labs will have a 20-foot wall of “NoBituaries,” or accounts of people who have fought and won the opioid battle by turning to medical cannabis. This series of faux newspaper clippings tells the tales of Illinoisans who pushed through pain and addiction by replacing prescription opioids with medical cannabis. Using uplifting stories in a somberly familiar medium, Cresco Labs intends to help patients rethink the misconceptions about cannabis and help them recover from pain without the fear of addiction and overdose.
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 will also be 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 (KSM), a Chicago based media agency.