What if you could drink endlessly and stay buzzed but never get sloppy? And what if you could then pop a pill to let you drive home sober? It sounds fantastical, but scientists are actually working on a synthetic alcohol substitute that brings all the happy feelings of being drunk without all the nasty mood swings, headaches, and addiction issues.
The alcohol substitute, which is being researched by a team at Imperial College London, will be made from Valium-like benzodiazepines. While benzos furnishes drinkers with a feeling of wellbeing, they don’t affect parts of the brain that control addiction and mood swings, and they’re easy to flush out of the body (no more nasty hangover cures!). Perhaps most intriguingly, the chemicals can be “switched off” with an antidote. Eventually, researchers involved in the project envision a world where alcohol content in beer and wine is replaced with their synthetic substance.
Of course, it will take more than a research experiment to persuade people to give up traditional alcohol. And who’s to say that synthetic alcohol will have exactly the same positive effects as a bottle of Jack Daniels? If it doesn’t, it will be a hard sell. Thus far, drink companies haven’t shown interest in the product–a bad sign for synthetic alcohol’s prospects. Still, we’re in support of anything that could cut down on the number of drunk drivers and alcohol-related accidents that happen every day.