Professor David Nutt, previously chairman of the United Kingdom’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and now teaching at Imperial College, believes that having a hangover after a an episode of binge drinking would soon be a thing of the past. A new synthetic alcohol called “alcosynth” could provide the pleasures of alcohol consumption without the harmful side effects.
According to Alcohol Concern, in the year 2014-15, over 1.1 million individuals had to be admitted to the hospital due to issues related to alcohol use and the harms caused by drugs. This has cost the NHS around £3.5 billion annually.
New preparation “alcosynth” would mimic the effects of alcohol that are desirable but not lead to a hangover the next day. There would be no throbbing headaches, dry mouth and sickness the next day he meant. Tobacco and cigarettes too would be replaced by electronic cigarettes he said, and that too within a decade. He said that within a decade or two, the western society would not drink alcohol as we see now expect on rare occasions. Instead Alcosynth would be the preferred drink he added.
Alcosynth would not cause the harmful effects of alcohol but provide the same pleasurable sensations and social disinhibition. Nutt claimed that this would change “culture” and said that less intoxication would also mean less risk of violence on the streets not to mention “less vomiting and less unpleasantness”. He explained that for most people drinking alcohol meant to be an enjoyable experience and most do not want to get intoxicated and cause harm. Alcohol, he said, kills more people compared to other common ailments sich as meningitis, malaria, dengue fever or tuberculosis put together. Reducing the intoxicating effects of alcohol could prevent hundreds of deaths and it would be “one of the greatest public health developments in the history of the world,” he said.
Alcosynth would also not harm the liver, kidneys, brain, heart and blood vessels like conventional alcohol does explained Nutt. Apart from not having hangovers, this long term safety compared to traditional alcohol could also be a big draw for today’s generation Professor Nutt said. Just like most youngsters have already switched to electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes to reduce the harmful effects of smoking, this could be a reality soon too he added.
Alcosynth would be targeting the younger population between 18 and 25 years as they drink less than the older people. Public awareness regarding the harmful effects of alcohol consumption has reduced binge drinking and regular heavy alcohol use in many. This would provide a safer alternative Professor Nutt said.
The synthetic version is called Alcarelle and it is hoped that the venture to launch and market it would be a pricey affair. Alcarelle managing director David Orren called this a “wonderful alternative” for the younger population. Alcarelle has made two alcosynth products from a benzodiazepine derivative that is similar to Valium and it is being tested for public consumption before it can be marketed.