As Google’s Legal Director, Adam Barea ’91, p ’21 has spearheaded efforts to fight addiction and the opioid epidemic by working with agencies such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
“We’re never going to keep out 100 percent of the bad stuff from our platforms,” Adam told Modern Counsel. “But if we in advance go above and beyond, and work hard to keep out 99 percent of it, we become a more credible voice.”
Adam’s team helps mitigate against high-risk third-party content such as phony online pharmacies, financial scams, and human trafficking sites that appear on Google platforms. They work to identify the content before it appears and prohibit it from doing so.
Through discussions with external partners and extensive research, the team found that most misused opioids come from offline sources and not the internet, but they continue to leverage Google platforms to help combat it. With his team’s recommendation, Google partnered with the DEA for Take Back Day—an initiative aimed at providing a safe, convenient, and anonymous means of disposing prescription drugs. Google’s homepage was used to advertise the campaign and direct users to maps highlighting drop-off centers near them. The initiative really paid off—search inquiries for Take Back Day skyrocketed, and the DEA collected and destroyed close to one million pounds of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, making it the most successful event in DEA history, reported Modern Counsel.
“What happens if a company like Google shines a light on people struggling with addiction, highlighting for them and their families that recovery is indeed possible and that addiction is a treatable disease?” said Adam.
The work that Adam’s team is doing lives up to Google’s mission of, “helping everyone find the information they need.”
Read more on Adam and his team’s efforts on the battling the Opioid Crisis.