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Google used ads to make millions from vulnerable addicts seeking treatment

Google used ads to make millions from vulnerable addicts seeking treatment
[Photo: nikko macaspac/Unsplash]

The search giant profited by up to £200 (about $270 USD) every time a person clicked on an advertised link for supposedly “free” addiction help lines in the U.K., reports the Times. But these “free” help line websites are most often just fronts for referral services that suggest patients then go to expensive private rehabilitation clinics. The referral services can get up to a £20,000 (about $27,000 USD) commission for each patient they refer, which is why they are willing to pay Google £200 per click. The huge commissions are blamed for driving up the cost of addiction recovery services in the U.K., making treatment that much more expensive. As a result of the Times investigation, Google removed all addiction industry ads from its U.K. site.

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