Hammered Without A Hangover

Sam Scott previews “synthetic alcohol,” a compound being tested on humans that could be on the market in two years:

It has a chemical structure similar to benzodiazepine, a class of psychoactive drugs that treat anxiety and insomnia. The as-yet-unnamed drug can produce alcohol’s desirable effects such as sociability and relaxation, but without negative effects such as nausea.

“We can get rid of most of the toxicity. We’ll have a compound maybe 100 times safer than alcohol,” claims [David Nutt of the Brain Sciences Division at Imperial College London]. This means less damage to the heart and liver, but it also lets you wake up fresh. “Because it targets a specific receptor in the brain, we can reverse the effects if people want to drive home,” adds Nutt. The antagonist could come in the form of a pill, or a dissolvable film that is placed under the tongue.

Update from a reader:

Call me crazy but isn’t that smoking pot?