Tuesday October 11, 2016

A new synthetic alcohol promises good times drinking without the headaches and hangovers

A new synthetic alcohol being developed in the United Kingdom is designed to offset the toxic effects of alcohol, and mediate addiction.

A new synthetic alcohol being developed in the United Kingdom is designed to offset the toxic effects of alcohol, and mediate addiction.

Listen 25:15

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It seems almost too good to be true: What if you could go for a night out drinking with your friends, and not have to worry about waking up groggy, achey and hungover the next day? And what if the drinks you consumed that night didn't cause any long-term damage to your body? 

That's the future envisioned by David Nutt, a former advisor on drugs to the U.K. government and a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College in London.

Nutt has patented a synthetic alcohol substitute called "alcosynth'. In an interview with The Current's Piya Chattopadhyay, he explained that the substance target's the areas of the brain that creates the pleasant buzz effect that comes with a few drinks, without the negative side-effects that cause hangovers. And after the equivalent of about three drinks' worth, the drinker will reach a sort of "plateau" so that they can never get too drunk. 

'You'll get pleasantly intoxicated but you won't get blind drunk. You can't kill yourself on it, you won't get aggressive, you won't get dependent and you won't get a hangover.' - David Nutt on alcosynth
5-rules-drinking

David Nutt is hoping to challenge a culture of drinking with his alcohol substitute. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Mark Haden is an adjunct professor of the UBC School of Population and Public Health focussing on drug policy research. He says while he's excited for the possibilities that alcosynth could bring, he warns against thinking of it as a silver bullet. 

'We don't know very much about it yet [...] Many drugs have come down the pipes being touted as absolutely fabulous and subsequently were proved to not be.' - Mark Haden


Listen to the full conversation at the top of this webpost.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry, Pacinthe Mattar and Julian Uzielli