Can Facebook help re-socialize drug users?


You may be addicted to Facebook, but Monica Gebruikt would happily trade places with you. The 37-year-old Dutch woman is addicted to heroin and cocaine. Now, with help from Dutch charity site (and branding agency Lemz), Monica is taking part in a social-media experiment. She has set up a Facebook profile, and is asking you to friend her, so that she can expand her social network beyond fellow drug users. By making friends online, the thinking goes, she might be able to gain self confidence and find new interests that will help her quit using. In other words, social media could help re-socialize her. Monica promises no more than two updates per day and will never ask for money or try to visit you in person. "The only thing I will ask from you is your online friendship," she says. As of this writing, she has 282 friends. It's an interesting idea, based around the strategy of changing an addict's behavior by changing her perspective—though you have to wonder if Facebook connections to strangers will have any meaningful impact on her life. And of course, there's the problem of how to replicate this if it is successful, since so many addicts are destitute and have no access to the Internet. Good luck to her. Read her note to potential friends after the jump. Via Osocio.

Hello, my name is Monica,
  I am a drug addict who wants to stop using drugs.
  I'm addicted to heroin and cocaine for a couple of years now. Because of my addiction I've lost everything and everyone. Friends, family or acquaintances, no one wants to be associated with me anymore. I'm sick and tired of living my life like this, that's why I want to quit.
  It is very hard to stop using drugs, because I don't have anyone (besides other drug users) who can support or help me at difficult moments.
  This is why I'm looking for people who want to follow, help or support me on Facebook. I know that I have to do most hard work by myself, but maybe, in this way, it will become little bit less difficult. And maybe this time I will succeed. So please become my friend and help me stop using drugs!
  P.s. Don't be afraid! If you decide to become my friend you will get an interesting peek into my daily life (with a maximum of two posts a day). I will NEVER ask for money or try to visit you in person. The only thing I will ask from you is your online friendship.