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Google uses its search skills to help fight opioid addiction

It's providing a location tool and vital search info.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 25, 2018
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Google is using its influence as a search giant to fight opioid addiction in the US. The company has partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration on a prescription drug take back tool that uses Google Maps helps you find return locations using Google Maps. You only have to fill in your address or ZIP code to get a slew of clearly identified recycling centers and similar drop facilities. It's meant or National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 28th, but Google is partnering with the DEA and state governments on integrating more permanent options into Maps.

There are additional tools. Google is highlighting help options and information in its search results, including the Drug-Free Kids Parents Helpline (1-855-378-4373) and details of opioid addiction symptoms and treatment. Accordingly, Google is pouring $750,000 in matching donations to expand the Parents Helpline.

It's easy to be cynical about indirect approaches like this. It's another instance of a company betting that software can solve health issues. In this case, though, Google is clearly aware that it's one part of a bigger picture: you need awareness and contact info in addition to treatments that ease withdrawal symptoms. Google's search dominance frequently makes it the first place people go to look for help, so it's important that the company point visitors in the right direction.

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