NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Google is temporarily halting advertisements for addiction and rehabilitation centers following reports that the search giant was connecting people seeking drug addiction treatment with dubious referral services.
According to a report this month in London’s Sunday Times, rehabilitation treatment centers paid tens of thousands of dollars in “finders fees” to referral service companies in order to get patients.
Google issued a statement to TechCrunch: “Substance abuse is a growing crisis and even as we’ve helped healthcare providers connect with people who need help, unfortunately there’s also been a rise in deceptive practices from bad actors taking advantage of those in need.”
The move comes as New York and New Jersey leaders address the opioid crisis, with former Gov. Chris Christie pledging $200 million to fight the problem and Gov. Andrew Cuomo making the issue a top priority in his state-of-the-state address earlier this month.