David Nutt wants to make non-addictive, safer synth-booze that comes with a sober-up pill


The Daily Mash (source of all my news) was all over the story this morning:


Once someone is inebriated, especially those with addiction and abuse issues, will they have the presence of mind to take the sober antidote? Will they wish to?


I need to stock up on Romulan Ale and something that’s green.

@IMB - I think there are lots of places I’d like to go, have some drinks and then pop the antidote for the safe and legal drive home.


Although it’s not explicitly stated anywhere, isn’t it pretty clear by now that there’s a de facto law: any novel intoxicant will be made illegal?


Sounds like something I read few years ago, about a couple of scientists trying to develop a pill which could replace the need for sleep. I’m a little skeptical about these pharmacological attempts at replacing things that have been around since prehistory, but I don’t doubt that it’s possible to do. Still, I think I’ll wait for the second generation of these things to come out before I get brave enough to try them.

Slashdot’s also got a discussion on these topic.

Prof Nutt isn’t ‘back in industry’, he is an academic at Imperial College London.

In fact he never left academia, since posts like being the head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs are not full time paid positions in the UK, but something you get to do while having another (paying) job in something like academia.


I can’t imagine so.

I think this is a great idea - but I can’t see it helping addicts any further than reducing the harm to their body.

People get drunk to get drunk - the advantage of switching off is if you become too intoxicated, or need to head back to the operating theatre after a liquid lunch; but if you want to remain drunk, then that’s exactly what you’ll do. The only way I see it working is if it works as a pre-emptive strike. i.e. if an addict could take medication that prevented them from getting drunk (which actually sounds familiar, maybe linked to the same proposal).

Alcohol is a very strong drug though, so hopefully enough people take it seriously. The number of people that scorn drug users while sipping a glass of wine is astounding, and each one of them is a massive hypocrite (likely unknowingly so, but still the ignorance, and denial, is culturally ingrained).


But are you an alcoholic? I think casual drinkers are not really the problem, in general. The problem is with serious binge drinkers and habitual users. They strive to, and want to, remain in an altered state. Will they want to use the pill? If they are already really messed up, are they going to have the decision making capability to use the pill, when so many awful decisions, like deciding to drive, are made while inebriated? I think if effective, the pill could work for those who are “buzzed” but not plastered, and still have the ability to make rational decisions.

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It’s not enough to put up with our governments, we have to be lucid while doing so. It’s all part of the punishment for being alive.


So this would be an example of life imitating Star Trek.


Primary use: Traffic stops by the fuzz. That will be a key selling point.


There’s also a movie pre-dating ST, some 50s/60s cosmopolitan affair with (the wonderful) Jimmy Stewart / (amazing) Cary Grant or someone, invention of a pill that makes you drunk but lasts only a short while.

I think on the Disqus BB we all figured out what it was, but I’ve forgotten again. Need a pill for THAT.


As someone with a liver disease (non-drinking related) who’s not allowed to drink alcohol, I’m utterly fascinated by this.

Cory stated “a synthetic alcohol that doesn’t wreck your liver”, but I don’t really see anything to back that up in the article. It seems like the point is more that it’s non-addicting and will have a “sober-up” pill. Is the goal also to have a drink that wouldn’t be processed through the liver? Most drugs are, including Valium which I believe is what this new synth drink would be based on, so it doesn’t seem like that’s the goal here. Anybody know more about the liver affects?

As someone who’s spent years of always being the DD while surrounding friends had their drinks, I’d love to be able to have a social cocktail once in a blue moon.

Yes, a significant portion of those with addiction and abuse issues absolutely would have the presence of mind to take the antidote. It pains me to see addicts lumped together as simply people with no ability to control. With the right tools at the very least significant harm reduction could be accomplished, similar to cigarette addicts that reduce their harm by using ecigs.

And by the way, there are drugs already on the market that largely prevent a person from getting drunk. They are just less common in the United States. (Naltrexone, Camprol, Topamax, etc.)


I find to hard to believe that it will have no harmful physical effects. I could believe less than alcohol, but none sounds pretty far-fetched. Then again, he probably knows things I don’t.


Absolutely - the classic example I can think of, of someone whose alcohol addiction is affecting their lives: The person who early in the evening overestimates their ability to drink and remain sober enough to drive later. At night, they’re faced with the dilemma of whether to drive when they shouldn’t, or sleep on the couch and face the wrath of the people who wanted a ride home from them.

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Part of the definition of addict is losing control in the compulsion to abuse a substance or participate in some activity. There may be degrees of addiction, and levels of willpower, versus physical addiction, but I thought it unnecessary to describe every variation in order to pose a simple question.

Yup, pretty much. There’s a legal 2C-B analogue doing the rounds at the moment as well, dunno how long that one will last (surprised it made it through anyway, as it’s a beta-ketone variant, which I thought would have got hit under the cathinone ban, but I am not a chemist).

You need to look into the work of Dr. Carl Hart. Because the “losing control” bit isn’t terribly well upheld by science at all. Admittedly, the experiment of his that I’m thinking of has addicts making decisions sober, but it strongly indicates that the whole “addicts have no control over themselves” thing is utter bollocks.

(I highly suggest his memoir “High Price”. It’s excellent.)

Edit to add: and even with the above, it doesn’t have to address addiction to be worthwhile. That’s somewhere between 15-25% of users of any drug. Maybe the rest of us (the overwhelming majority) would be interested in a sober-up pill for exactly the reasons outlined by others in the above comments.

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