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How Google Maps Aims To Combat Addiction During National Recovery Month

Google Maps has rolled out a new feature in recognition of National Recovery Month as a way of helping those struggling with opioid addiction find the help and resources they need to take their first steps toward recovery. Two new features will help those struggling with addiction find things like access to Naloxone (which is widely known under its brand name, Narcan)—which can help save a life in the event of an overdose—as well as other, more long term recovery resources. Google is one of the most common tools used by addicts to seek addiction recovery resources, so the company wanted to take a more hands-on approach toward helping its users find access to those resources in a more user-friendly way.

Google launched each of the projects through a website called Recover Together, which provides facts and information about addiction and recovery that aim to help a person suffering from addiction feel just a little bit less alone. The website provides firsthand stories of recovery from a variety of people each struggling with addiction themselves, as well as information and resources to help users find the information they need to take the first steps toward a better life. “people come to Google every day to seek information on addiction treatment, prevention and recovery,” writes an official press release from Google about the new service. “Just last month, we saw an all-time high in search interest for “rehab near me,” “addiction treatment near me” and “how to help an addict,” the press release states.

Google’s New Recovery Tools

In addition to helping share stories of recovery in order to make it feel more palatable, Google has also launched two new locator tools to help people find the resources that they need. One of the tools, called the Recovery Locator Tool, provides an interactive map linked with Google Maps to provide the information for over 83,000 recovery support meetings around the country. Each listing in the interactive map will link users to more information about the program, such as meeting times and other resources available at that location.

The other interactive map launched by Google recently aims to take a more immediate approach toward connecting those struggling with opioid addictions with good resources. The Naloxone Locator Tool provides an interactive map to help users locate places that offer the life-saving overdose-reversal drug Naloxone (known commercially as Narcan) without a prescription. Resources such as these can help reverse an overdose in matters of life and death. Users simply have to type in “Naloxone near me” or “narcan near me” into Google Maps and the service will spit out a list of nearby locations that offer the drug—from local pharmacies to recovery centers.

Beyond these tools, Google’s new initiative to help those struggling with addiction stretches beyond the victims themselves. The company’s Recover Together website has a dedicated section that aims to help shift the conversation and social stigmas surrounding addiction to treat it for what it is: a life-threatening disease, rather than a controllable bad habit. An “Addictionary” provides users with information that can help shift the conversations surrounding addiction to one that fosters growth and recovery rather than accuses drug an alcohol users of having committed a crime or made a mistake.