In a front page article in today’s Sunday Times, Graham Beech, Action on Addiction’s Chief Executive, has expressed concern and disappointment at Google for profiting from advertising by third party agents at the expense of people who are in active addiction.

Following statements made by Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of The Commons Health Select Committee, and an article which appeared in The Sunday Times on Sunday, 9 January 2018, Google has removed all advertisements relating to rehabilitation for addiction.

In welcoming the fact that steps are now being taken to curb the profits being made by third party referral agents, Action on Addiction has called on Google to reinstate advertisements posted by charities under The Google Grants scheme. Whereas Action on Addiction does not pay referral agents to refer clients to any of its treatment centres, it has, until now, benefited from free advertising on Google via the grants scheme which has enabled the charity to reach out to and help people irrespective of their ability to pay for treatment.

Action on Addiction maintains that Google has a corporate and social responsibility to facilitate the promotion of charities who offer genuine professional support to vulnerable people, as well as to displace those who profiteer and divert funding from that treatment. By removing access to information on high quality, not-for-profit treatment providers as well as unscrupulous operators, Google is effectively throwing the baby out with the bathwater.