Google combats opioid epidemic through providing disposable locations on Google Maps

Google is launching a new effort in the fight against the nation's opioid crisis.

The tech giant is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, CVS, Walgreens and state governments to display local drug disposal locations in Google Maps.

By entering searches such as "drug drop off near me" or "medication disposal near me," users will be able to find permanent disposal spots at local pharmacies, hospitals or to dispatch of unneeded medication. The program will start with 3,500 locations nationwide.

"By bringing opioid disposal site information to Google Maps, Americans are only a search away from helping to address the opioid crisis," HHS Chief Technology Officer Ed Simcox said in a statement. "This type of consumer empowerment—providing easily accessible data—is the kind of innovation needed to improve healthcare."

Disposable locations can be important in fighting the opioid crisis, which claimed more than 49,000 lives in 2017 due to overdoses because they prevent others from getting ahold of medication. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2016, 53 percent of respondents indicated that they "obtained the last pain relievers they misused from a friend or relative."

Google is the latest company working to fight the . In 2017, CVS announced would limit opioid prescriptions in an effort to combat the epidemic. Moreover, Walmart took several measures in 2018 to hinder opioid misuse, such as providing a way to dispose of unneeded medication and placing a limitation on how much medication it will supply.

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