Google Begins To Limit Addiction Treatment Advertising

Posted by Edward Ernest | Sep 20, 2017 | Real News | 0 |

Last week, the empire known as Google started limiting ads on search results pages for drug and alcohol rehabilitation center searches. And based on my own offline experience with the new breed of treatment centers, it was about time.

About seven years ago, my colleagues and I took a meeting with an executive from an addiction treatment center in California, and he was looking to raise money so it could expand into Arizona and Nevada.

This gentleman walked through our boardroom doors, and it was impossible not to notice his presence. He was like an impeccably dressed fighter jet with a perfect tan coat of paint.

This man had been around the block several times, and he was a seasoned salesman, but not seasoned enough to know that experienced people could see that he’d try and sell anything to anyone no matter if it was good for them or not. He was a used car salesman of the 21st century and a very successful one.

He had not even broken into the pitch for the addiction treatment centers, but we all knew that we were about to hear an unethical tale somehow. Framed in the manner of we’re helping, and we can make a lot of money from helping.

First, we did hear an unethical tale, and we weren’t shocked about that part of the story. However, we were shocked at how brazen this executive was on how unethical he was and would be.

When we asked questions about the doctors qualifications and how the treatment programs were going to work, he said that it did not matter. In fact, the words uttered from his mouth were “Due to Obamacare, people are going to get the help they need for the first time in their lives and we’ll give them that help, however, because of Obamacare, they can now afford to come back a second time, and a third time. We don’t need to fix them because it’s best for business if they keep coming back.”

This was not a joke, this is a real news article, and yes we’ll point that out because this website also does funny fake news story but this was and is no joke.

Which leads us back to Google and them finally doing the right thing.

Rehabilitation centers have now seen their ads slowly disappear. Searches for “drug detox,” “drug rehabilitation” and “drug treatment program” are some of the queries that return results without ads. Where text ads once appeared, a pack of organic, local listings may display at the top of the search results page when available. This change only impacts ads. Organic results are unchanged, other than appearing higher on the page when ads are disabled.

A lack of regulation and treatment standards, coupled with outsized demand and new insurance mandates, created an environment that was a perfect storm for the unethical people of our world to take advantage of others and the system.

“We found a number of misleading experiences among rehabilitation treatment centers that led to our decision, in consultation with experts, to restrict ads in this category. As always, we constantly review our policies to protect our users and provide good experiences for consumers,” a Google spokesperson said.

It’s unfortunate that Google has to do this in the first place, as our government has obviously not done its job by setting a strict set of standards in which it is acceptable to operate. However, at least someone is finally doing something, and that’s a start in helping people get in touch with legitimate rehabilitation centers that care.


If you or a loved one you know has an Addiction problem, whether it be drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex or any other addiction, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.


Photo Credit: Carlos Luna

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *