Uber is giving free rides to people recovering from opioid addictions.
Goodwill and Uber partnered to launch a pilot program that gives people in Virginia free rides to treatment centers. The service doesn’t require a smartphone, riders can just call Goodwill and a car will be sent to pick them up and take them to pre-approved locations like treatment of therapy.
Virginia’s drug overdose death rate has increased significantly. Deaths rose by roughly 35% from 2015 to 2016 and the main driver of drug deaths is opioids. Uber and Goodwill’s program will not only help those in need, but possibly save money for people and the state. The White House estimates that the opioid epidemic cost the U.S. $504 billion in 2015, due to health care and mortality prices.
“Opioid treatment costs money. Transportation costs money. We want to eliminate any barrier to treatment for people,” Sue Medeiros, a spokesperson with the county’s Mental Health Support Services Department, told NBC12.
There are currently only 10 participants signed up for the program, and Uber hasn’t mentioned expanding the program to other states. But, if the program spreads, it could mean that more people get easier access to the lifesaving treatment they need.