San Francisco: In a bid to support individuals with substance abuse and drug addiction during COVID-19 times, Google, Facebook and Twitter have joined non-profit Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) to launch an initiative called Tech Together.
The online platform is a collection of resources to help those experiencing substance use disorder or battling addiction and the associated stigma.
During these social distancing times, an increasing number of recovery support meetings and in-person recovery resources have been suspended due to shelter-in-place orders.
Prior to COVID-19, a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins and Harvard Universities showed that 2.5 million US adults were already using online technology to aid in their recovery, and report that interventions incorporating online technologies led to further recovery success.
"COVID-19 may have paused our everyday lives, but unfortunately addiction and substance misuse disorders persist. More than half of Americans know someone impacted by opioid misuse alone," said CSIP Executive Director Marjorie Clifton.
Tech Together partner efforts include Twitter offering hashtags for thousands of people in recovery to join conversations. Twitter provides real-time engagement to share stories of recovery, and online community building for people facing similar battles of addiction and recovery.
"Facebook also sees how their tools are being used to get help during this trying time. Whether offering crisis support over Facebook Messenger, hosting a Facebook Live support session or connecting through a Facebook Group, communities in need are coming together," CSIP said in a statement.
Finally, to help people in recovery access support groups, Google is working with various non-profits to put together a list of online support group options, and options for virtual meetings are listed on the site.
"We are committed to using our technologies to raise public awareness about addiction and recovery and are committed to making it easier for people to find help to battle addiction and stigma," said Clifton.