The ongoing public health emergency due to the “opioid crisis” has hit an all-time high in January 2019, with more people now using Google to search for “medication disposal near me.”
In response to that, Google is now making it easier for people in the United States to find drug disposal locations year-round with enhanced opioid-related queries.
In both, Google Maps and Search, now queries such as “drug drop off near me” or “medication disposal near me” will show results for permanent disposal locations.
Typically, pharmacies, hospitals, and government buildings to safely discard unused and unneeded medications nearby will appear in the search results.
Here is a GIF animation demonstrating the new Google Search and Maps enhanced search:
Google notes, the idea to merge disposal location data sources originated from the HHS’s Opioid Code-A-Thon hosted last year.
The contributors of public and private disposal location data include states like Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Also, companies like Walgreens and CVS Health along with the Drug Enforcement Administration to provide additional locales also participated in this pilot.
53% of prescription drug abuse starts by obtaining them from family or friends, says Google, who has been supporting the fight against the crisis for a year now.
Since, they partnered with the DEA to create a locator tool powered by the Google Maps API.
The tool is used by people to dispose of their unused medications twice a year at temporary locations.
Google notes the tool is so effective that it helped in collecting “1.85 million pounds of unused prescription drugs in 2018.”
The company has provided a email address ([email protected]) where local government agencies non-profitofit organizations can learn about contributing more disposal locations to Google Search and Maps.
What is Next in Opioid Crisis:
Google plans to expand the coverage as well as adding more locations across the US. in the next couple of months.