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Tech Together launches new online support tools for those battling opioid addiction and substance use disorder.
Tech leaders Google, Facebook, and Twitter are in collaboration with the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), a non-profit dedicated to consumer protection and education around online pharmacies and prescription drugs, after creating the platform TechTogether.co. The site is a collection of resources to help those experiencing substance use disorder or battling addiction and the associated stigma.
During this time of CDC-recommended "social distancing" for COVID-19, the need for online resources is even more imperative. An increasing number of recovery support meetings and in-person recovery resources have been suspended due to shelter-in-place orders, according to a news release.
Given that Alcoholics Anonymous alone has over 66,345 groups in the U.S., totaling more than 1,361,800 members, the closure of most groups will leave large numbers of people in recovery looking for resources. Prior to COVID-19, a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins and Harvard, showed 2.5 million U.S. adults 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,” says CSIP Executive Director Marjorie Clifton. “Those in recovery or looking for resources for a family member must find new ways to cope as they face the challenge of isolation. 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.”
Each technology partner provides a unique offering on TechTogether.co, creating a wealth of resources and tools for those seeking support online, the release says.
Tech Together efforts include Twitter offering hashtags for thousands of people in recovery to join conversations such as #RecoveryMovement, #OpenRecovery, and #RecoveryWorks. 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. Last year, Facebook also launched, in Partnership for Drug-Free Kids + Center on Addiction, the Stop Opioid Silence (SOS) campaign, a national awareness campaign to break down the stigma associated with opioid use disorders.
Lastly, 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. Options for virtual meetings are listed on the site.
Visit TechTogether.co to make use of all of the resources available and share with those who may need extra support while under quarantine.