Despite the fact that approximately one in seven Americans will struggle with substance abuse and addiction, according to the surgeon general, there’s still a pervasive stigma surrounding these issues that keep many of those struggling from seeking the help they need and deserve. Even finding reliable resources on addiction and treatment can prove a challenge, as was evidenced by the number of scam advertisements that came up in Google search results for rehabilitation facilities throughout 2017. Since then, Google has taken steps to make it right — and now, the company has created an entirely new micro-site devoted to providing high-quality information for those struggling with or affected by addiction.
The global pharmaceutical market is expected to reach $1.12 trillion by 2022, and the widespread accessibility of prescription drugs has certainly taken its toll on American health. For instance, four out of five users of heroin started out by misusing these prescription painkillers. But whether the substance in question is a prescription opioid or an injectable drug, the struggle is the same. The creation of Recover Together, Google’s new resource, coincides with National Recovery Month. This new micro-site is dedicated to the 23 million Americans who are on the road to recovery, as well as the 20 million others who are currently struggling to obtain the assistance they need. Recover Together contains a number of helpful tools, including a glossary of accepted terminology and a Google Maps-based resource that can provide users with information on local pharmacies that supply Naloxone. Even though CBD has been found to reduce pain and potentially treat both mental illness and addictions, this particular drug can help to reverse opioid overdoses and is often kept on-hand among those struggling. The platform can also help users find nearby support groups and online organizations that facilitate recovery.
Some people say that the micro-site is far more useful than a simple Google search since the results of a search query can depend on a number of ranking factors that may not always reflect the true value of a given website. And since 46% of Google searchers want local information, Recover Together may have a bit more fine-tuning that can connect people with the nearby resources they need much more quickly. In fact, the Google Maps-powered recovery locator tool will display more than 83,000 recovery support meetings (the likes of which include Alcoholics Anonymous or AA, A-Anon, and Narcotics Anonymous) just by entering their location or preferred location.
Perhaps best of all, there are no ads for rehab facilities on the micro-site; many people don’t realize that rehabilitation centers really face no regulation and can often cost families a small fortune without delivering on high-quality addiction treatment. By focusing on trusted resources instead, Google is at least making a valiant effort to help — even if the move may be good PR.
Considering that the U.S. is still very much in the midst of an opioid crisis, with more than 130 people dying each day due to opioid use and Americans being more likely to die from this type of drug abuse than they are in a car accident, the creation of this site may be an incredibly important one. By making this information more widely accessible and bringing attention to this issue, the harmful stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding drug addiction may soon give way to more widespread knowledge and recovery.