Google said it will use its homepage and maps starting Wednesday to promote a Drug Enforcement Administration project to combat the opiate epidemic, as regulators and lawmakers call for an more direct intervention by Silicon Valley. to address the drug crisis.
Under the Google search bar, the company will promote the National Day of Return of Prescription Drugs of the DEA, an initiative that encourages people to anonymously take unused medications to a collection site where they can be discarded in a manner safe. The semiannual event will take place on Saturday.
Google Maps will also launch a tool to help users find a nearby drug collection site, taking from the 5,500 sites where people can bring their unwanted or expired medications.
"We" I am deeply concerned about the opiate crisis that has impacted families in every corner of the United States, "said Susan Molinari, vice president of public policy for Google, in a blog posted on Wednesday. The DEA has found that drug elimination is a way to help prevent abuse and addiction, "Many people are not aware or can not easily find prescription elimination programs in their communities," he added. users look for terms related to the elimination of prescription drugs 10,000 times per week, on average.
More than 42,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2016, 28 percent more than in 2015, according to the Centers for Control and Prevention of Disease Prevention President Trump stated that the drug crisis was a public health emergency the year Since then, he has advanced drug abuse prevention policies that include a public awareness campaign to suppress consumer demand and an expansion of a Department of Justice opioid fraud unit to prosecute negligent pharmacies and distributors.
Google's project with the DEA is presented as leading technology companies are attracting greater scrutiny on their roles in the dissemination of misinformation and exchange of illicit products. This month, the director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked Internet providers to help free the Web from illegal offers of prescription opioids that have contributed to the drug crisis. . FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said it was time for an initiative, similar to efforts involving Internet providers to limit the spread of child pornography, to deal with illegal listings of painkillers. He said the FDA would soon meet with executives from Internet companies and defense groups to look for solutions.
During his recent high profile testimony on Capitol Hill, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, was also pressured by lawmakers to do more to block posts on his social network that offer the sale of prescription drugs.
The DEA has reported that its most recent "Withdrawal Day" set a record for the total weight of drugs destroyed. But it is difficult to measure the program's effectiveness in relieving the opiate crisis because the agency does not evaluate the amount of opioids it discards against other types of drugs. But the agency has said that eliminating an increasing amount of drugs from homes could prevent drug addiction and overdoses.
Google has been lobbying Congress and the White House about the opioid crisis for the past six months, according to recent disclosures. During that time, the company spent more money pressing the federal government than any other corporation, for a total of approximately $ 9.4 million.