With 130 people dying of opioid overdose every day in the U.S. alone, and an estimated 20-40 million Americans struggling with substance abuse or in recovery, the time is right for innovation to make a mark on addiction.
The U.S. government already spends nearly $10 million every single day to apprehend and prosecute drug offenders, and over $1 trillion since 1970. If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance abuse, to whom do you turn for answers about what can be done in the face of this massive epidemic?
Recovery Resources Hub
Well, when you need to know anything, where do you go? It’s 2019 — many of us would automatically answer, “Google.” That’s true across all kinds of demographics, including people struggling with addiction.
In August of this year, Google reported an all-time record number of searches for the phrases “how to help an addict,” “addiction treatment near me,” and “rehab near me.” It’s a trend the company decided to take action on by recently releasing a new tool for those in need of addiction treatment. It’s called “Recovery Resource Hub.”
The hub allows users to search by specific geographical area for counseling, housing assistance, recovery support meetings, and more. Over 83,000 addiction recovery meetings (including Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous) are mapped out by location, making it easy for those in recovery to find support when and where they need it.
The Recovery Resource Hub also allows users to leverage Google’s locator to find nearby pharmacies that offer Naloxone, a drug that can counteract the effects of opioid poisoning. This could mean the difference between life or death for tens of thousands of people every year. Over 20,000 pharmacies are included across the 50 states.
Putting Lives Back Together
Google is just one of many tech companies hoping to provide some kind of answer to the addiction crisis that is crippling America — and this is a good thing for us all. Not only does drug abuse destroy individual lives, it comes at a high cost to society as a whole. One in four Americans surveyed, for example, has used drugs or alcohol while on the job.
While many call for more aggressive prosecution of Google and other big tech corporations for pushing the limits of antitrust legislation, the company itself should be commended for proving, with its new tool, that all that power and data isn’t necessarily being used for nefarious purposes. It can also be a source of help for those in need — at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives.