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Ear to the Ground

The E-Cigarette of Alcohol?

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Posted on Nov 11, 2013
AnnetteCS (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A former adviser for the U.K. government says he’s developing a drug that mimics all the positive effects of being drunk without the risks of addiction or hangovers.

The Independent reports:

It targets neurotransmitters in the brain directly, giving the taker feelings of pleasure and disinhibition that are in some cases “indistinguishable” from the effects of drinking. Yet because it acts directly, it can also be immediately blocked by taking an antidote – with “drinkers” potentially able to then drive or return to work straight away.

Professor David Nutt is one of the U.K.’s leading neuropsychopharmacologists, but he and his team at Imperial College London are having trouble getting funding from the alcohol industry.

The Independent continues:

One of the biggest benefits to Prof Nutt’s alcohol substitute would be to remove addiction as a drinking problem. The scientist said 10 per cent of drinkers become addicted, and that addicts account for most of the one and a half million people killed by alcohol every year.

The Professor said that the drug would be taken in the form of a range of cocktails, and added: “I’ve done the prototype experiments myself many years ago, where I’ve been inebriated and then it’s been reversed by the antagonist.

“That’s what really gave us the idea. There’s no question that you can produce a whole range of effects like alcohol by manipulating the brain.”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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