Google is ramping up its efforts to help tackle America’s opioid epidemic, harnessing Google Maps to help people dispose of drugs.
On Saturday, which is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, more than 5,800 locations across the country will be accepting old or unneeded prescription drugs. Google has developed a Google Maps tool to help people get rid of medicines they no longer need. Users can enter their zip code in an interactive map to find their nearest Take Back location.
The tool was also used for April’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, as 50,000 Americans used the locator on its first day, according to Google. The DEA collected almost $1 million of unused prescription drugs during the April Take Back initiative. “The tool is really helping to make an impact on the epidemic,” said Google in a statement.
This week, Google also announced a partnership with Walgreens to surface their more than 1,000 permanent drug disposal locations in Google Maps. The initiative, which will be implemented in the “foreseeable future,” will let people discard their unused prescription drugs year-round.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan opioid bill that aims to curb the crisis, the deadliest epidemic of overdoses in the country’s history.
Nearly 48,000 people died last year from overdoses involving opioids. Overall, U.S. drug overdose deaths have started to level off, but officials say it’s too soon to declare victory.
The legislation will add treatment options and get the U.S. Postal Service to screen overseas packages for a synthetic form of opioids called fentanyl that are being shipped mainly from China.
The Obama administration secured a commitment to expand treatment and Congress provided $1 billion in grants to states. Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency and two major funding bills have passed under his watch.
“Together we are going to end the scourge of drug addiction in America,” Trump said. “We are going to end it or we are going to at least put an extremely big dent in this terrible problem.”
Google was one of a number of companies at Wednesday’s White House event.
The Associated Press and Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers
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