Scientists are already working on a synthetic alcohol formula that could cause the same sensation associated with being tipsy or drunk without suffering the side effects that come with a hangover the following day, as well as other harmful effects like liver conditions, according to The Independent.
The substance, called Alcarelle, was created by Professor David Nutt — a British scientist and psychiatrist who specializes in the research of drugs that affect the brain — with the intent to change the way people consume alcohol, according to the report. He created the alcohol replacement molecule “alcosynth” with his partner David Orren as an effort to come up with a way for people to enjoy the social effects of booze without the long-term consequences, reports The Guardian.
“The industry knows alcohol is a toxic substance,” Nutt told The Guardian. “If it were discovered today, it would be illegal as a foodstuff. The safe limit of alcohol, if you apply food standards criteria, would be one glass of wine a year.”
Nutt, who previously lost his position as the government’s chief drug adviser after he memorably claimed that alcohol was less dangerous than ecstasy, LSD and even crack, stressed that the substance will have to be regulated just like traditional alcohol is, as The Independent pointed out.
While drinking without consequences or long-term diseases sounds too good to be true, Alcarelle finding its way into local bars and supermarkets is starting to look like a real possibility, according to The Guardian report. Nutt and Orren began seed funding for their project in November 2018, allowing them to embark on the journey of drawing more than $20 million to bring the substance to the market, the report further detailed.
According to The Independent, the researchers have come up with a plan alongside food scientists to have the molecule regulated as a food additive or ingredient in five years.
‘What I’m trying to do is provide something to enjoy that is much less harmful’. Alcarelle could be the future of harm reduction from alcohol. A well written piece on the work of @ProfDavidNutt. https://t.co/YcyVK5PaS6
— RCPsych Addiction Faculty (@rcpsychAddFac) March 26, 2019
His research into Alcarelle began in 1983 when Nutt, as a Ph.D. student, discovered an alcohol antidote — a drug that actually reverses drunkenness.
As a psychiatrist, Nutt was motivated to begin his research after treating patients who suffer from alcohol dependency for decades. Despite dedicating his career to fighting and treating the consequences of heavy drinking, Nutt is not a prohibitionist, contended The Guardian, who explained that he is not against people hoping to be more sociable and having a bit of fun. He himself enjoys a “very small” single malt before bed and even co-owns a wine bar with his daughter, the report pointed out.
“I’m not against alcohol. I like it, but it would be nice to have an alternative,” he said.