Google, CVS, Walgreens, DEA team up to fight opioid crisis

Google announced Thursday that its joining forces with CVS, Walgreens and federal and state governments, including the DEA and HHS in an effort combat the opioid crisis "head-on."

The new initiative is set to displace local drug disposal locations on Google Maps year-round.

The hope is that users can easily type in queries like "drug drop off near me" or "medication disposal near me" and Google Maps will automatically display where permanent disposal locations are nearby so people can quickly and safely discard of unneeded medication.

The project is set to start at 3,500 locations nationwide, incluidng local pharamacies, hospitals and government buildings. However, the initial project will first narrow in on seven key states including Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Last month, Google said it saw that search queries for "medication disposal near me" reached an all-time high on its platform, which prompted the program.

What's more, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that 53 percent of all prescription drug abuse typically starts with drugs obtained from family and friends.

In 2017, the HHS declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, with more than 130 Americans dying every day from opioid-related overdoses. Addiction to opioids can start after just five days of use, the HHS warned.


Ed Simcox, HHS chief technology officer said in a statement that the new partnership is the "kind of innovation needed to improve healthcare."