Researchers developing new adult beverages with Valium-like drugs instead of alcohol

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martiniWhat if you could enjoy as many cocktails, glasses of wine or beer as you wished in an evening, achieve and stay in a state of pleasant inebriation, then, when ready to leave, take a pill that reverses the effects so you can drive home safely? Even better, you wake the next morning without a hangover? That's the dream of a team of researchers from the Imperial College London (England) who are experimenting with replacing the alcohol in adult beverages with chemicals similar to Valium.

The feel-good drinks would not only improve an individual's well-being, but could have an enormous impact on the public cost of alcoholism. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimated that alcoholism cost the U.S. approximately $220 billion in 2005, or around $733 apiece for all Americans.

According to the U.K.'s Telegraph newspaper, the synthetic alcohol being tested is derived from chemicals similar to Valium. Valium is a sedative used to treat anxiety and, ironically, alcohol withdrawal. The team is led by Professor David Nutt, who was recently fired from his position as the government's drug advisor when he had the temerity to suggest that LSD and Ecstasy are less dangerous than alcohol.

I imagine replacing one drug (alcohol) with another (a benzodiazepine like Valium) can create a new set of problems that the researchers will need to overcome to bring this product to market. Valium, for example, has side effects such as dizziness and blurred vision, and in some people, especially seniors, can trigger hallucinations. It is also available by prescription only.

Nonetheless, I like the way these researchers are thinking; search for better alternatives to allow us to catch our buzz, rather than forbid us the chance to enjoy that state of mind that is such a welcome contrast to our workday world.
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