Drunk Without the Hangover: The Pill of Possibility


help is (maybe) on the way.

Alcohol has become passé, or so it seems.

Dr. David Nutt, a psychiatrist and professor of neuropsychopharmacology at the Imperial College of London, has been doing research and working on creating two different pills: one that creates the pleasurable effects of drunkenness and the other that erases that horrible after effect, otherwise known as the hangover. According to Dr. Nutt, the first drug would act as an alcohol surrogate, targeting neurotransmitters in the brain. He has also conducted further research where he replaced ethanol in alcoholic drinks with safer replacements such as benzodiazepine, which he claims can be “switched off at the end of the night with a sober pill.” It sounds relatively easy enough: pop a pill, get drunk, then pop another pill and you’re back to normal. But is it really that simple?

Emily Robinson, the deputy chief executive of the U.K.-based charity Alcohol Concern, still has her doubts. “We should focus on what is going wrong in our drinking culture rather than swapping one potentially addictive substance for another,” she warned. Many are worried that just like any other medication or pill, people would be prone to abuse, and may even act more recklessly because, “Hey, all I have to do is take a pill and I’ll be fine.”

Dr. Nutt faces great resistance from the alcohol companies as well. After all, if his pill were to hit the market, the alcohol industry would lose a lot of money if people turned to pills instead of booze. And isn’t alcohol a large part of our social lives? We don’t necessarily mean the part about getting wasted, but rather the physical action of meeting friends at a bar, or getting a few martinis with dinner. The idea of popping pills with friends sounds a bit sketchy, if not borderline addict-like.

When given the choice on a given day, we’ll opt to sip a glass of Cabernet  and skip the Tequila shots.

However, we do support the idea of a hangover pill, especially when heading back from a Vegas bachelorette party the morning of a big presentation at work. (Not that that ever happens.)  As long as you’re not getting hammered every night and turning into a raging alcoholic, there’s nothing wrong with occasionally indulging in a hangover pill. We can think of several occasions where this would serve a body well.

But it looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer until Dr. Nutt completes his studies and gets his pills approved for release to the general public. Guess this means no shots at the company holiday party.

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