Google to display drug rehab ads again after vetting
Breaking News Apr 18, 2018
Google to display drug rehab ads again after vetting

Almost a year after Google stopped displaying ads for drug abuse centers and addiction treatment facilities, it is going to resume the service again from July 2018, reported Reuters. Despite being highly lucrative, the company had refrained from displaying ads of addiction facilities in the United States, as many of them were found to be misleading and deceptive. However, the company has lifted all such restrictions for now, and addiction rehab facilities would be able to run ads after being vetted by LegitScript, a Portland firm, said Google.

With the pandemic of opioid abuse surging in the U.S., there is a growing interest in addiction disorder treatment throughout the country. People grappling with substance use disorder (SUD) have been seeking help from rehab facilities that have mushroomed across the nation. Yet, regulations are scant to rein in the burgeoning rehabs.

Google had blacked out all drug and alcohol abuse treatment advertising from search pages and third-party apps and websites in the U.S in September 2017. This was done in response to a story published by The Verge, which detailed rackets related to rehabs. Google extended the ban globally in January 2018. According to research firm Kantar Media, this move by Google cut off at least $78 million worth of advertising business every year in the U.S. alone.

Mounting pressure forced Google to tighten noose

Earlier, advertisers could buy ads with fewer restrictions and regulations from Google. However, due to mounting public pressure, the company has now opted to tighten the rules for a handful of categories like garage-door repairers, locksmiths, drug makers and online medicine retailers. With the vetting process becoming more rigorous, Google will begin seeking more documentation from political advertisers. In case of addiction treatment facilities, the more stringent rules will apply to in-patient facilities, crisis helpline numbers or hotlines and other support groups working in this direction.

LegitScript will screen ads for addiction facilities on as many as 15 criteria, including criminal background, licensing and insurance verification. The companies would have to submit documents pertaining to procedures and policies, pledging a commitment to ideal practices, comprehensive recovery, and perpetual improvement, said LegitScript. It will also charge an annual fee of $995 initially, and $1,995 subsequently as vetting charges.

According to the Chief Executive of LegitScript, John Horton, this move was highly commended by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (NCASA) and the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP). However, he also added that these additional steps might pique many addiction treatment facilities.

Dealing with addiction

Although addiction is a scourge, it is treatable and one can gain sobriety after receiving timely treatment. If you have loved one struggling with an addiction to drugs, alcohol or any other substance, seek immediate help to take the path to sobriety.

Hooked Sober is a source of information about drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and mental disorders. Send your questions, concerns or comments to or speak to a representative at (866) 838-4087.

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