Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Still feeling the sting of New Year's Eve all these days later? A synthetic alcohol substitute developed from chemicals similar in composition to Valium could give users the pleasant feelings of tipsiness without affecting the parts of the brain that lead to barroom brawls, crippling addiction, and sleeping in your car.
Unlike all those bunk point-of-sale hangover remedies, this headache-eluding synthetic is being developed by some serious brainpower at Imperial College London. Professor David Nutt, one of Britain's top drug experts, was recently relieved of his position as a government advisor for comments about cannabis and MDMA. Now, he's trying to change the way Britons think, and feel, about getting drunk.
By harnessing benzodiazepines like diazepam, the chief ingredient in anti-anxiety med Valium, Nutt sees a future of drinking without becoming addicted, belligerent or -- and here's the kicker -- intoxicated. Using one of thousands of possible benzos, researchers are working to tailor a colorless, tasteless synthetic that could eventually replace the alcohol content in beer, wine and liquor.
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