How to Start Google Ads with LegitScript for Drug Rehabs

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Written By: SPN Marketing

In today’s digital age, online advertising plays a pivotal role in connecting businesses with their target audience. For drug and alcohol rehabs, this connection is not just about business—it’s about reaching out to individuals in dire need of help and offering them a path to recovery.

However, with the rise of misleading and predatory practices in the rehab advertising space, there’s been a pressing need for regulation and oversight. Google, being one of the largest online advertising platforms, recognized this and introduced stringent policies to ensure that only trustworthy and legitimate rehabs can advertise their services. One such requirement is the LegitScript certification.

Being LegitScript approved not only ensures that a rehab is adhering to ethical and professional standards but also opens the door to a vast online audience through Google Ads. In this article, we’ll delve deep into the steps rehabs need to take to obtain this certification and successfully create a Google Ads account.

Understanding Google’s Policy on Addiction Services Advertising

Google’s commitment to fostering a safe and trustworthy advertising ecosystem is evident in its policies. Recognizing the sensitive nature of addiction treatment services and the potential for misuse, Google has implemented specific guidelines for advertisers in this sector.

Google’s Commitment

Google aims to ensure that individuals seeking help for addiction are presented with genuine, ethical, and professional treatment options. Misleading advertisements can have dire consequences in this field, potentially diverting vulnerable individuals away from the help they truly need.

Necessity of Certification

To maintain the integrity of its advertising platform, Google mandates that addiction treatment service providers obtain certification through LegitScript. This certification serves as a testament to the provider’s adherence to high standards of service, ethical business practices, and transparency.

Key Aspects of the Policy:

  • Certification Requirement: All addiction treatment providers wishing to advertise on Google must be certified by LegitScript.
  • Geographical Limitations: As of now, Google allows ads for addiction services only in specific countries, including Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States.
  • Prohibited Practices: Advertisers must refrain from misrepresenting treatment efficacy, costs, amenities, and other critical aspects. Additionally, offering incentives for reviews or testimonials and using data collection forms solely for lead generation without providing actual services are strictly prohibited.

By implementing these guidelines, Google ensures that its users are presented with reliable and genuine treatment options, safeguarding them from potential scams or misleading services.

Steps to Obtain LegitScript Certification

LegitScript’s Addiction Treatment Certification is rigorous, ensuring that patients and their families can trust that certified providers have been thoroughly vetted. Here’s a detailed guide to achieving this certification:

Preparing to Apply for LegitScript Addiction Treatment Certification:

  • Understanding the Fee Structure: Before starting your application, it’s crucial to be aware of the associated costs.

Facility Pricing:

Number of Unique FacilitiesApplication Fee Per Unique FacilityAnnual Fee Per Unique Facility
1 to 9$1,595 USD$3,095 USD
10 to 24$1,495 USD$2,775 USD
25 to 49$1,395 USD$2,550 USD
50 to 99$1,175 USD$2,350 USD
100+$1,075 USD$2,125 USD
  • Hardship Waiver for Nonprofits: LegitScript offers a hardship waiver for qualifying nonprofits with less than $150,000 in net assets, waiving certification fees for one year.

Ensure Proper Documentation:

  • Business Registration Information: Provide Secretary of State filings for each state where your organization provides addiction treatment services.
  • Licensure Information: For your treatment facilities and Key Treatment Providers, which includes doctors, nurses, therapists, and social workers.
  • DEA Registration: If applicable.
  • Additional Documentation: This includes liability insurance, treatment services, incentives, controlled substances, audits and inspections, prior discipline, location information, affiliate information, domain name registration, and a publicly accessible privacy policy.

Steps to Get Your LegitScript Addiction Treatment Certification:

  1. Create an Account: Go to to set up an account.
  2. Pay the Application Fee: The annual subscription fee is due after the review is completed and upon certification.
  3. Ensure All Documentation is Complete: Ensure you have all the required documentation. Missing documentation is a common reason for delays.
  4. Clarify and Remediate: Respond promptly to any questions or requests for additional information from LegitScript analysts.

After Submitting Your Application:

Once submitted, your application is screened for completeness and then reviewed by the analyst team to ensure compliance with all local and national laws, regulations, and LegitScript’s Certification Standards and Terms & Conditions.

Need Help With LegitScript Approval?

Navigating LegitScript can be challenging. Our expert consultants are here to simplify the process and ensure your success. Contact us today!

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Applying to Google Ads Post LegitScript Approval

Once you’ve secured your LegitScript certification, the next step is to apply for Google Ads to start your advertising campaigns. Google has streamlined this process, making it straightforward for certified providers. Here’s how you can get started:

Adhering to Country-Specific Requirements:

Before initiating your application, ensure you’re compliant with the requirements specific to the country you’re targeting. For instance, if you’re aiming to advertise in the U.S., you must meet all U.S.-specific guidelines.

Google Ads Application Process:

  1. Google Ads Account: If you don’t already have one, create a Google Ads account. This will provide you with a unique customer ID.
  2. Online Application Form: Navigate to Google’s application form for addiction services advertising. Ensure you have your Google Ads customer ID handy, as you’ll need to input it.
  3. Provide Necessary Details: Fill out the form with all the required details. If you’re an agency applying on behalf of a rehab facility, you’ll need to provide documentation that establishes your relationship with the advertiser or license holder.
  4. Review and Submission: Before submitting, review all the details to ensure accuracy. Any discrepancies can lead to delays or denial of your application.


Once submitted, Google will review your application. This process can take some time, so patience is key. Upon approval, you’ll be able to start your advertising campaigns. However, remember to always stay compliant with Google’s policies to avoid any potential issues or account suspensions.

Limitations & Guidelines for Running Ads for Addiction Services

While Google Ads offers a vast platform for reaching potential clients, it’s essential to understand the specific limitations and guidelines when advertising addiction services. These rules are in place to protect both the advertisers and the audience, ensuring that the information presented is accurate, ethical, and beneficial.

Country Restrictions:

  • Google has a selective list of countries where ads for addiction services are permitted. As of now, these countries include Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States.
  • If you’re targeting audiences outside these regions, you’ll need to adjust your advertising strategy accordingly.

Keyword Limitations:

  • Google has restrictions on the type of keywords that addiction services can bid on. Only certified addiction services advertisers are allowed to bid on keywords related to drug and alcohol addiction.
  • This limitation ensures that individuals searching for help are directed to certified and reliable sources.

Certification Requirements:

  • Beyond LegitScript certification, advertisers must also be certified by Google to serve ads in the addiction services category.
  • This dual certification process ensures that the advertisers meet both industry-specific and platform-specific standards.

Health Insurance (US Specific):

  • In the United States, there are additional guidelines for advertising health and medical insurance coverage.
  • Advertisers must be certified by Google to advertise health and medical insurance coverage, with exceptions for government advertisers.
  • This includes individual health insurance, short-term insurance, Medicare Advantage, Medigap, Medicaid, etc. However, advertisements exclusively for dental, vision, and/or travel health insurance coverage are not restricted.

Adherence to Policy:

It’s crucial to continuously monitor and ensure that your ads adhere to Google’s policies. Any violations can lead to penalties, including account suspension. In most cases, Google provides a warning at least 7 days prior to any suspension, giving advertisers an opportunity to rectify the issue.

FAQs on LegitScript and Google Ads for Addiction Services

Is LegitScript necessary?

For addiction treatment providers aiming to advertise on platforms like Google, obtaining LegitScript certification is essential. It ensures that the provider adheres to high standards of service, ethical business practices, and transparency.

Who uses LegitScript?

Major online advertising platforms like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook recognize and use LegitScript certification to vet addiction treatment service providers who wish to advertise on their platforms.

What are the benefits of LegitScript?

LegitScript certification offers several benefits. It establishes trustworthiness for the provider’s credibility and ethical standing in the industry. With LegitScript certification, providers can advertise on platforms like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. In a crowded market, being LegitScript certified can help providers stand out and assure potential clients of their legitimacy and quality of service.

What does it mean if it says my ads are limited?

If your ads are marked as “limited,” it means they may not be shown to certain audiences or in specific situations due to Google’s advertising policies. For addiction services, this could be due to geographical restrictions or the nature of the content in the ad.

Does Facebook require LegitScript?

Yes, Facebook requires addiction treatment providers to be LegitScript certified if they wish to advertise their services on the platform. This ensures that users are presented with genuine and trustworthy treatment options.

Can a 3rd party agency run my Google Ads if I am LegitScript certified?

Yes, a third-party agency can manage and run your Google Ads campaigns if you are LegitScript certified. However, the agency may need to provide documentation detailing their relationship with you during the Google Ads application process.

Can another treatment center use my certification?

No, LegitScript certification is specific to the entity that applied and was approved. Another treatment center cannot use or share your certification.

How long does LegitScript certification take?

The duration for obtaining LegitScript certification can vary based on the completeness of the application, the responsiveness of the applicant, and other factors. Generally, it’s advisable to allow several weeks for the entire process, from application submission to approval.

Why do I show “All ads limited by policy”?

If your ads display the status “All ads limited by policy,” it indicates that your ads are being restricted from appearing in certain situations or to specific audiences due to Google’s advertising policies. This could be due to content, targeting settings, or other policy-related reasons. It’s essential to review Google’s policies and ensure your ads comply to avoid such limitations.


Navigating the world of online advertising for addiction treatment services can seem daunting, especially with the myriad of policies and certifications in place. However, these measures are essential to ensure that individuals seeking help are presented with genuine, ethical, and professional treatment options.

Obtaining LegitScript certification and adhering to Google’s advertising policies are not just bureaucratic hurdles. They are testament to a treatment provider’s commitment to offering quality care and services. By following the guidelines and understanding the intricacies of the advertising landscape, addiction treatment providers can effectively reach out to those in need, ensuring that their message of hope and recovery is heard by the right audience.

In an era where online presence is paramount, taking the right steps to advertise responsibly and ethically can make all the difference. It not only builds trust among potential clients but also positions providers as leaders in the addiction treatment community.