In response to the opioid epidemic, Google Maps is adding a search feature meant to help people get rid of unwanted drugs.
Starting Thursday in a seven-state pilot, the navigation app will pull up drug stores and other sites that will dispose of drugs. You can type in “drug drop off” or “medication disposal” and nearby results from 3,500 nationwide locations will come up.
The goal is to give people a safe way to get rid of drugs — and keep them out of reach of people who might become addicted to them. Google said 53 percent of prescription drug abuse situations start with drugs from family and friends.
Google is working with a number of businesses and organizations — including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Walgreens — to pull up disposal information for pharmacies, hospitals, and government buildings.
Previously, Google Maps showed drop-off locations for National Prescription Take Back Day, but now it’s showing them — along with hours and other information — all year long. Google worked with Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania authorities to get accurate information on the app and is hoping to add more states to the search results.
Google says searches about opioids are on the rise and last month the specific search “medication disposal near me” reached an all-time high.
If you or someone you know needs help with a substance abuse disorder, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through its national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit findtreatment.samhsa.gov.