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Google and Twitter Help Communities Fight the Opioid Crisis


04.25.18

WASHINGTON, DC – This Saturday, April 28, 2018, marks the 15th annual Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Take Back Day. It’s an important opportunity to turn in any unused medications in a safe and responsible way – no questions asked.

As part of this national effort, The Washington Post reports today that Google has partnered with the DEA to make information about its collection sites more accessible. Visitors to Google will see an option below the search bar to “learn about how you can help curb opioid abuse.”


Google helps raise awareness about DEA’s Take Back Day

The link provides more information about Take Back Day and a special tool for Google Maps to help find collection sites near you.

As part of last fall’s Take Back Day, 912,305 lbs. (456 tons) of pills were collected across 5,321 collection sites. Leading up to the national day of action, Energy and Commerce Committee members filmed public service announcements and held collection events in their districts.

This month, #SubEnergy Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) recorded a message for his constituents

This year, Energy and Commerce Committee members continue to raise awareness about Take Back Day and the opportunity for our communities to join us in this nationwide fight.

To learn more about the committee’s ongoing efforts to combat the opioid crisis, click HERE.

Google is promoting the DEA’s ‘Take Back Day’ on its homepage to help combat the opioid crisis

Google said that it will use its homepage and maps starting Wednesday to promote a Drug Enforcement Administration project to help combat the opioid epidemic, as regulators and lawmakers call for more direct intervention by Silicon Valley to address the drug crisis.

Underneath the Google search bar, the company will promote the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, an initiative that encourages people to anonymously take unused medications to a collection site where they can be safely discarded. The semiannual event will take place Saturday.

Google Maps also will launch a tool to help users find a drug-collection site nearby, drawing from the 5,500 locations where people can bring their unwanted or expired medication.

“We’re deeply concerned by the opioid crisis that has impacted families in every corner of the United States,” Susan Molinari, Google’s vice president of public policy, said in a blog post Wednesday. While the DEA has found that drug disposal is one way to help prevent abuse and addiction, “many people aren’t aware of, or can’t easily find, prescription drug disposal programs in their communities,” she added. Google said users search for terms related to prescription drug disposal 10,000 times per week, on average.

More than 42,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses in 2016, up 28 percent from 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Trump declared the drug crisis a public health emergency last year. He has since advanced drug-abuse-prevention policies that include a public awareness campaign to suppress consumer demand and an expansion of a Justice Department opioid fraud unit to prosecute negligent pharmacies and distributors.

Google’s project with the DEA comes as leading technology companies are drawing increased scrutiny over their roles in the spread of misinformation and exchange of illicit products. This month, the head of the Food and Drug Administration called on Internet providers to help rid the Web of illegal offers of prescription opioids that have contributed to the drug crisis. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said then that it’s time for an initiative, akin to efforts involving Internet providers to limit the spread of child pornography, to grapple with illegal listings for painkillers. He said the FDA would soon meet with Internet company executives and advocacy groups to seek solutions.

During his recent high-profile testimony on Capitol Hill, Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, was also pressed by lawmakers to do more to block posts on his social network that offer the sale of prescription drugs. …

Click HERE to read the full article online.

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