Hosting the First Narcotics Anonymous Support Group Meeting in the Metaverse

Giving even greater anonymity to those who might be hesitant to join a support group, NAverse, the first Narcotics Anonymous support group meeting in the metaverse, took place last month with support from Havas-Group owned Socialyse Paris and its technical partner VR Academy. Eight Narcotics Anonymous members came to discuss their addictions and their progress towards a drug-free life in an immersive experience.

Narcotics Anonymous, a global network of support groups, grew out from the model of Alcoholics Anonymous and has been setting up meetings dedicated to helping drug-addicted individuals wishing to get rid of their addiction for almost 50 years, focusing on speech, presence, support, and a sense of belonging to a unified community.

For the past two years, addiction to drugs, alcohol, or medication grew as quickly as social distancing measures made attending the meetings a difficult task.


 

To tackle this difficult situation, Socialyse Paris, a Havas Group agency, advised and accompanied Narcotics Anonymous in the setting up of an immersive experience in the metaverse to better recreate the feeling of presence, support and guidance that physical meetings can provide.

“It is no longer a secret that the metaverse is a revolution and, whatever we might say, it’s a true step forward,” said Émilie Cabanié, Head of Influence, and Emmanuel Quéré, Senior Strategic Planner at Socialyse Paris.

“While it’s understandable that some people may feel concerned by it, we chose to use it in a virtuous way and integrate it into an issue of public interest. We said to ourselves, what if immersive technology allowed for a better treatment of mental illnesses, and specifically of addictions? It is our role, as professionals in the fields of communications and advertising, to use these technologies in a meaningful way and offer practical solutions to some key challenges of our time. We hope that this first experience will inspire similar initiatives elsewhere.”

Among those who took part in this first Narcotics Anonymous metaverse experience, regular members, as well as newcomers, shared their own experiences. A few selected journalists were also invited to share the initiative and bring the conversation surrounding addiction to the mainstream, as well as to specifically concerned social groups (drug addicts, their families and friends, public authorities and members of the medical field).


 

According to a statement from Socialyse Paris:

“Narcotics Anonymous members became fully converted to the metaverse experience, representing a true solution to digitalize meetings, allow them to speak freely with a complete sense of anonymity. A world first, which might inspire and expand to other psychological support groups.”

The agency released feedback from anonymous members.

“It has been an emotionally resonant experience, and I am glad to have been a part of it. I felt like I was in a “true” meeting, as if it were physical, while the Zoom-based meetings we had during lockdown periods felt less personal, colder,” said Caroline.

“Immersive, emotional, impressively realistic,” said Fraid.

“The meeting felt emotionally impactful, since having our goggles on made us feel more involved, it felt more effective. I think the whole process opens unlimited potential to help many people,” said Elise.

The platform is part of the “Metaverse by Havas”, a consulting, creative, media, and commerce solution launched for brands wishing to explore the metaverse as a new space to address their branding, storytelling, brand experiences, targeting, and revenue generation goals.


Credits

Socialyse Paris
Chairman: Frédéric Saint-Sardos
Deputy CEO: Raphaël Marquennet
Creative Strategist : Emmanuel Quéré
Head of influence : Emilie Cabanié
Art direcor: Charles Delavault
Video director: Hadrien Fière
Technical Partner: VR Academy

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