Google wants to make it easier for addicts to find the help they need.
To mark National Recovery Month, Google has created a website called Recover Together that aims to help the estimated 20 million Americans currently struggling with addiction and the 23 million others who are in recovery.
Google is placing a link to its new recovery site under the Google.com search bar to drive awareness for people looking to take the first step toward getting sober. While entering search queries such as "how to help an addict" or "rehab centers near me" will bring up the usual list of results, Google's link offers a quicker way for people to find the help they need in their area, minus the usual ads.
As part of the effort, Google Maps now has more than 33,000 locations listed in the United States offering recovery support services, including meetings for loved ones of addicts.
Perhaps most critically, Google is offering a way for people in immediate danger to get help. Google Maps has debuted a tool for locating the nearest pharmacy to get potentially life-saving Naloxone, a non-prescription drug that reverses opioid overdoses. According to Google, at least 20,000 such locations are included in Google Maps, including chain pharmacies such as CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens in all 50 states.
“I urge more Americans to carry Naloxone, a potentially life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose," Dr. Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General, says in a statement. "For many people, knowing how to use Naloxone and keeping it within reach can save a life."
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared opioid abuse a public health emergency in 2017. More than 130 people die daily from opioids, with 53% of people getting hooked after obtaining over the counter drugs from family and friends, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Americans are now more likely to die from opioid abuse than a car accident, according to the National Safety Council.
While Google and other big tech services have been under scrutiny for everything from antitrust to their lax policing of disinformation, the tools are an example of how a big tech company can try to make a difference.
The work builds on another initiative Google started earlier this year to help fight the opioid crisis. In February, the company began adding drug disposal locations on Google Maps, making it easier for people to find a location near them to safely dispose of old prescription medications.
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