'My Name Is Caroline And I'm An Avatar'

In what may be one of the most practical applications for the metaverse yet, a unit of Havas has launched what it describes as "the first narcotics anonymous support group meeting in the metaverse.

Dubbed NAverse, the platform was developed by Havas' Socialyze Paris to provide a new level of anonymity for people suffering from addictions who might otherwise have an aversion to show up in-real-life settings, especially during a public health crises eschewing face-to-face encounters.

The first meeting, which was held February 17 via the VR Academy, included eight NA members who discussed their addictions and their progress toward a drug-free life.

Noting the combination of the loss of public meetings, as well as the stress related to the pandemic, the agency said that addiction to drugs, alcohol and medication had increased and that utilizing a virtual, immersive experience as a proxy is a logical solution.



“It has been an emotionally resonant experience, and I am glad to have been a part of it," NA participant Caroline said in a statement announcing the program. "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."

“The meeting felt emotionally impactful, since having our goggles on made us feel more involved -- it felt more effective," added another NA participant, Elise, adding: "I think the whole process opens unlimited potential to help many people."

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