Facebook will begin redirecting vulnerable people to a federal crisis helpline information site when they search for treatment facilities or inquire about purchasing opioids illegally on the website.
The FDA is holding a summit next week about engaging tech companies, such as Twitter, Google, and Facebook, so they become better allies in fighting against the opioid epidemic. Facebook announced this plan one week before the summit convenes.
A representative said this new feature is the result of months of work by a special policy committee. Facebook said it put together this task force long before the government pushed for tech to assume greater responsibility in curbing the opioid crisis.
The redirect feature is set to go live early next week. They’re hoping the feature will capitalize on people during vulnerable moments and guide them to a helpful resource.
AToN supports this proactive measure by Facebook. Anytime companies and the government seek to help and treat, rather than punish or stigmatize, people are empowered to seek treatment. During a moment of vulnerability and motivation, perhaps the conditions will be right for people to follow through and call the helpline. It is a little concerning that the helpline is associated with the federal government, as people may have a mistrust of the government already due to legal issues or because they are not recognized citizens. Hopefully the government can truly be helpful in the situation and merely offer nonjudgmental and supportive resources.
Speaking of which… we also have nonjudgmental, trained intake representatives answering the phone when you call. We can answer your questions and point you in the right direction.