As we prepare for another month of COVID-19 quarantining, pretty much all addiction recovery efforts have now shifted online. This means virtual meetings, Zoom chat support and adjustments with medical professionals to ensure that patients get the treatment materials that they need. To that effect, tech companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook are also stepping in; doing what they can to make this transition easier and more comfortable for those battling a dependency.
In the realm of prescriptions, a non-profit org called Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (or CSIP) has gotten the support of the three tech giants. Their goal is to maintain consumer protection and education regarding prescribed meds.
CSIP executive director Marjorie Clifton recently spoke out about the program amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the support they’re receiving from sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google.
“COVID-19 may have paused our everyday lives, but unfortunately addiction and substance misuse disorders persist,” Clifton explained. “More than half of Americans know someone impacted by opioid misuse alone. 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.”
On that front, Twitter (for example) has helped launch new promoted hashtags that engage users to learn about recovery. They include #RecoveryMovement, #RecoveryWorks and #OpenRecovery. Within those conversations, you’ll find videos, personal stories and support contacts.
Facebook has been an active participant in the recovery movement too, even dating from before the COVID-19 pandemic. Their Stop Opioid Silence (SOS) campaign pushed out viral videos and used technology like the Messenger app to communicate with people in need of treatment. Now that message has shifted to online support, encouraging web-based meetings for people in need.
Google has heavily pushed their Google Meet function as well since the breakout. This is very similar to Zoom and is free of charge. One key feature is that it allows therapists and sponsors to communicate to their contacts virtually. It can also be synchronized with phones, so people can start these types of conversations much easier.
We have certainly tried to do our part with the digital tools that are available. One place that VRC has been particularly active is on the Facebook Group Alumni page. We encourage anyone struggling to follow it and reach out, if needed.