A scientist at Imperial college London has identified molecules that reproduce the pleasurable effects of alcohol without causing a hangover the next day.
The pill also prevents intoxication, meaning drinkers could throw back several beers feeling only a mild buzz from beginning to end.
David Nutt, a professor of neuropsychopharmacology, said the new drug targets GABA, a chemical produced by the brain, and produces the same effects as alcohol. The drug selectively effects the GABA receptors, avoiding other brain receptors which lead to the undesirable effects of a night out drinking.
“There’s no question that you can produce a whole range of effects like alcohol by manipulating this system in the brain,” said Nutt. "In some experiments, the effect is indistinguishable from alcohol."
Nutt said that this could have an effect on public health as the drug could be used to block receptors, allowing drinkers sober up. Clever molecule modelling could also eliminate the risk of addiction associated with drinking.
According the World Health Organization, 2.5 million people died of alcohol-related diseases in 2011. Alcohol is a causal factor in 60 types of diseases and injuries and a component cause in 200 others.
Nutt is hoping to make a range of cocktails using his new drug. He is in the process of looking for potential investors to develop the product and bring it to the market. But many are wary that the government may enforce regulation on the drug.
“I would like the government to make a recommendation that we try to improve on the health of our people by allowing these kind of substitute alcohols to be legal,” said Nutt.