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NAATP Partners with Google and LegitScript

Google and Colleagues Begin Process to Reinstitute Addiction Treatment Advertising
NAATP Partners with Google and LegitScript on New Marketing Protocol

By Marvin Ventrell
NAATP Executive Director

I am pleased to report that after months of collaborative work, the process of reinstituting the advertising of addiction treatment through Google is underway. The news was announced yesterday, April 16th, via the news release of LegitScript, the organization responsible for vetting advertiser applications for suitability to appear on Google.

Read the LegitScript News Release

During the fall of 2017, in response to a public and industry wide outcry regarding the online marketing deception by certain unscrupulous addiction treatment programs, Google suspended its AdWords program for addiction treatment. While this move limited the good ethical provider from advertising, it was determined that the harm to the public outweighed the loss of marketing opportunity for the ethical provider.  

NAATP began meeting with Google last fall to help Google understand the market and develop a system whereby the AdWords program could be reinstated under conditions that would both protect the consumer and provide a fair business opportunity for the quality provider. LegitScript, a vetting agency with a strong track record of doing this type of work, entered the picture and became the Google partner that would establish certification standards and the approval process. LegitScript worked closely with NAATP and recently settled on both the qualification standards that a treatment provider would have to demonstrate and the application process. NAATP supports the program although we have not fully endorsed the standards themselves, pending the lessons learned and provider input during the trial period currently underway.

Interested providers may review the following links to learn more about the program and to apply as a beta period advertiser.

This work is a part of The National Association’s broad effort to ensure competent and ethical marketing and delivery of addiction treatment called the Quality Assurance Initiative (The QAI), also begun in 2017. NAATP is dedicated to addressing the abuses by unethical and unscrupulous profiteers who have entered the field. Earlier this year we released Ethics Code 2.0 as a critical component of the effort. All NAATP members must adhere to the ethics code in order to remain members.

The QAI will be the focus of NAATP National 2018, our 40th National Addiction Leadership Conference, May 20-22, 2018 in Denver, CO. John Horton, CEO of LegitScript, will be presenting the new program at the conference together with NAATP leadership in General Session 3, Tuesday morning May 22nd. If you are not signed up for the conference, you may still do so at: NAATP National 2018.

While NAATP and our members were justifiably frustrated with the online abuses and our perspective that Google had not acted on our concerns, I am pleased to report that Google has indeed heard our voice and is working with us and our colleagues in the field to remedy the situation. While we are well aware that this new program is not a silver bullet that will fix all the problems, we believe it is the right direction and will dramatically improve the marketing environment.  

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