CHICAGO, Aug. 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Kicking off International Overdose Awareness week, an Illinois-based medical cannabis company launched anti-opioid campaign today highlighting real life stories of the positive impact cannabis has combating the national epidemic. Just a day after the Alternative to Opioids Act, a law allowing for patients to easily fill their medical prescription with cannabis instead of harmful narcotics, became law in Illinois, Cresco Labs activated a multi-state awareness campaign with a very simple message – Cannabis is legal medicine in 30 states and a non-lethal, less-addictive option for treating pain than prescription opioids.
"We want people to know that cannabis is accessible medicine and they have other options besides dangerous prescriptions to get relief," said Charlie Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Labs. "The stats are clear, states with legal cannabis programs have a lower opioid overdose rate than those that don't, and our goal is to draw attention to cannabis as a safe alternative."
The company's COPE campaign, Cresco Labs Opioid Prescription Exchange, is placing a functioning vending machine with the message "Got Pain? Get Relief." in high traffic locations. The machine is primarily filled with replica narcotic pill bottles as selections. No matter what item is selected, a "Medical Cannabis" dram is dispensed with the enclosed message:
WHO SAYS THE EPIDEMIC IS OUR ONLY CHOICE?
When you're in pain, opioid prescriptions are the norm. Addiction is the norm. Overdose is the norm. That's just the way it's been, but we don't need to accept it. Opioid patients deserve an alternative: medical cannabis.
Ask your doctor about replacing opioids with medical cannabis products and get relief that doesn't cost you peace of mind. Pain isn't a choice. How you treat it could be.
Accompanying the vending machine is an 18-foot wall with NObituaries; dozens of vignettes from people whose lives were changed when they switched from prescription opioids to cannabis to treat their medical condition. The campaign will also be activated online with videos and a #NOpioid and #NObituary hashtag. Cresco Labs will also be launching similar efforts in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Research published by the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that states with accessible medical cannabis programs saw 3.7 million fewer daily doses of opioids filled and an overall 6% lower rate of opioid prescribing. 80% of all drug overdoses in the United States are from opioids and last year there were 2,200 opioid overdose deaths in Illinois alone. The statistics are clear that states with a legal cannabis program have approximately a 25% lower opioid overdose rate.
The Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program allows for the recommendation of cannabis to be used in the treatment of over 40 medical conditions. The Alternative to Opioids Act that was signed in to Illinois law yesterday makes the program more accessible by eliminating mandatory finger printing, criminal background checks and provides patients with a doctor's authorization provisional permission to purchase cannabis while the state is reviewing their application.
SOURCE Cresco Labs