‘Safe Alcohol’ with a Sober Antidote – Too Good to Be True?

According to data from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcohol is responsible for an estimated 2.5 million global deaths each year. Scientists have long studied alcohol, its effects on the human body, and possible methods of preventing alcoholism.

Dr. David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London and former drugs advisor to the U.K. government, says he’s developed a groundbreaking product – tentatively named the “Alcohol Surrogate” – that mimics the pleasurable effects of drunkenness, but comes with an instant antidote.

What We Know About the Alcohol Surrogate

According to Dr. Nutt, the Alcohol Surrogate will allow people to indulge in their favorite alcoholic beverage – minus the risk of addiction, negative health effects, or painful hangovers. The Alcohol Surrogate comes in liquid form and is consumed like any other alcoholic beverage. By targeting the brain’s neurotransmitters, the product induces feelings of relaxation and sociability in a matter of minutes.

Once users are ready to feel sober again, they take a specially designed antidote pill. In less than five minutes, all traces of impairment are gone.

In an interview with the BBC, Dr. Nutt said that traditional alcohol “is too poisonous and has too many effects to be able to block them... why don’t we just turn the whole question on its head?”

He goes on to say that he’s tested the Alcohol Surrogate with great results. “I’ve been completely zonked on a high dose, given an antidote and in a matter of five minutes — not at all.”

What’s in this Stuff?

Unlike alcohol, Dr. Nutt says the Surrogate’s compounds are non-toxic and safe for the human body’s vital organs. Though the specific ingredients of this product have yet to be revealed, Dr. Nutt says they work more specifically by targeting the subsystems of the brain’s neurotransmitters.

Concerns About the Product

Without an official list of chemicals or compounds, it’s hard for scientists to know whether or not the Alcohol Surrogate is clinically safe. However, serious concerns were raised after Dr. Nutt revealed that benzodiazepines would be used to replace the ethanol molecules found in traditional alcohol.

Benzodiazepines, a class of drugs that includes Xanax and Valium, are extremely addictive and cause their own special brand of impairment. What’s more, just like alcohol, benzodiazepines enhance the effect of GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. This revelation worries many experts that the Surrogate could be dangerously addictive.

Learn more about the risks and side effects of alcohol addiction
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