A substitute to alcohol is in the works being led in research by Professor David Nutt and a team at Imperial College London. Nutt held the position as Britain’s top drugs expert but was recently dismissed as a government adviser for his opinions pertaining to cannabis and ecstasy.
Since his departure from the government, his efforts have been concentrated on this project. He says that he “envisions a world in which people could drink without getting drunk. No matter how many glasses they had, they would remain in that pleasant state of mild inebriation and at the end of an evening out, revellers could pop a sober-up pill that would let them drive home.”
A sober-up pill? Novel. This would mean that drinkers in their mild inebriation could invariably drive to wherever they want by simply ingesting a pill, which would instantaneously “sober them up”.
The synthetic alcohol in its’ tastelessness and colourlessness will be able to take on the characteristics of the drink it is in. It will provide the feeling of “well-being and relaxation” by use of Valium-related chemicals, which directly effect the nerves in the brain. It differs from alcohol in that even though it is effecting the brain’s nerves, it does “not affect the other parts that control mood swings and lead to addiction. It is also much easier to flush out of the body.”
Nutt and his team are currently researching which match of benzodiazepines, of which diazepam, the chief ingredient of Valium, would be able to be manipulated to meld well with society’s needs.
The professor feels that the substitute will provide society a way in which to improve their health and safety though he and his team must endure the expenses of clinical trials first before getting the drug approved.
He supports the benzos saying “I’ve been in experiments where I’ve taken benzos, one minute I was sedated and nearly asleep, five minutes later I was giving a lecture.”
That actually sounds quite unsafe! Or was that part of the experiment? We don’t know if we would give a lecture after taking drugs, which is what the benzos are but we are more concerned with the professor’s credibility as we are on board for science but not on board for irresponsible drug-use.
Something we recall is that “benzodiazepines are typically safe in short-term use but can inhibit aggression and behavioural disinhibition.” Also, they are usually used to treat ”anxiety, insomnia, agitation, seizures, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal and as a premedication for medical or dental procedures.”
Professor Nutt attests to “most benzos being controlled under the Medicines Act [implying that] the law gives a privileged position to alcohol, which has been around for 3,000 years”. ”Why not use advances in pharmacology to find something safer and better?”, he states.
Alcoholism and its’ relation to fatal fires, drownings, suicides and domestic abuse among other problems is a major issue affecting not only the well-being of individuals but the economy with the number of lost working days accounted.
We don’t know. We realize that alcohol and alcoholism are indeed problems but also that drugs are drugs. How can they not be addictive? Perhaps certain people will want to be in a prolonged, deeper state of inebriation. What’s to say that their ‘drug’ won’t just be another thorn thrust in society’s side? Of course, this acts as just an alternative to alcohol. It doesn’t imply that problems one would typically have while buzzed would disappear. Brawls and naughty behaviour, we assume, would still be rampant.
However, we must ask
Is this the foreseen exchange of one poison for another or Is this a veritable solution to a real problem?
Update: We spoke with a psychiatrist who concurred with our findings confirming that extended use of Benzos would be very detrimental to health and would have the same effect as alcohol does.