Google puts drug addiction recovery info front and center

Opioid addicts can access recovery support services and other resources.

The opioid epidemic is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths per year. Google hopes to make it easier for the 23 million Americans in recovery to find a support group or find a pharmacy where they can purchase naloxone, the opioid-overdose reversal drug. The tech giant announced today that in honor of National Recovery Month it will be launching two new tools that will help connect recovering opioid addicts with resources.

Through the Recovery Maps Locator, users can find more than 33,000 locations that offer support services for those dealing with opioid addiction. This includes school-based support, or family support services. Results will also show more than 80,000 support meetings around the country, including for NA, Al-Anon, SmartRecovery and more.

Users in search of naloxone will be able to find more than 20,000 locations through Google's special locations. Currently, the anti-overdose drug is available without a prescription at roughly 20,000 locations across the US, including CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens. Google says that users will soon be able to pull up these locations by simply searching for "naloxene".

Google has taken steps to address the opioid crisis in the past. Alphabet's health data company Verily opened an opioid treatment center in Ohio this summer. Google partnered with the DEA in 2018 to develop a Google Maps API tool that shared the location of temporary disposal sites. Back in January, Google noticed that searches for "medication disposal near me" reached an all-time high. The company has since made it possible for users to find disposal sites on Maps and Search through a simple search query. Given the success of its latest public health effort, it makes sense for Google to further leverage the power of Maps to connect recovering addicts who need help.