Amid the bleakness of an ongoing opioid epidemic, Google is launching Recover Together, a project they hope will make it easier for drug users and their loved ones to access potentially life-saving treatments. The Recover Together site will act as a portal to credible drug treatment resources–but even if you don’t navigate to it, you may see information from it popping up across other Google properties, starting with Maps. Google Maps will now pull in data about rehab facilities, meetings for those in recovery, and even places to get emergency overdose treatment medications like Narcan and Naloxone.
Google Maps now shows 1,175 locations in the greater Los Angeles area as recovery resources, the majority of which are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meeting locations. CNET reports users will also be able to simply type terms like “Naloxone near me” or “Narcan near me” to find locations that offer those non-prescription medications.
Recover Together comes at a time when the CDC reports that 130 people die in the U.S. every day from opioid overdoses and Google says they’ve observed an “all-time high” in search traffic around drug recovery. The site will be ad-free and is intended to show only vetted, trustworthy resources.
In 2017, journalists at The Verge discovered that Google search results for drug rehab and recovery terms had become bogged down with scams and predatory practices, not unlike the widely reported phenomenon of Google Maps results for abortion clinics leading women to anti-choice political centers that have figured out how to game search results. It appears that Recovery Together may be Google’s attempt bypass the frauds create a safer, more reliable way for people in need to connect with the health care resources they need.
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