But what if there were a way to remove all the negative side-effects of alcohol, including the hangover and bar-side aggression and even addiction, while still keeping perks like sociability? David Nutt, a professor at
School Awesome Imperial College London says it's possible.
Nutt's idea, written in the Guardian today, is to create a substance that would target your Gaba system, the area of your brain that keeps you calm. Alcohol really affects that spot, which is why you feel relaxed and uninhibited.
But alcohol also affects other parts of your body in not-so-sweet ways, so Nutt wants to make an alcohol surrogate that just hits the Gaba system—providing a scientific path to the best possible intoxication. Like any good doctor, he's tested the theory out on himself.
I have sampled both new forms. After exploring one possible compound I was quite relaxed and sleepily inebriated for an hour or so, then within minutes of taking the antidote I was up giving a lecture with no impairment whatsoever.
All that is needed now is funding to test and put them on the market. A few contacts within the alcohol industry suggest they are interested but do not need to engage until this new invention becomes a threat to their sales.
Nutt compares his idea of an alcohol substitute to the e-cigarette—both are less debilitating long-term, and both provide similar intoxicating effects. (Although you can argue that the e-cig's effects aren't that similar to its deadlier cousin.) I smell the future of weekday drinking.