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


Let’s put it this way, they are not exercising control. That is the problem. They also often don’t exercise good judgement, especially under the influence, which was what my first question addressed.


Yes! So glad to hear someone speak out against this knee-jerk notion of powerlessness as soon as the word ‘dependence’ or ‘addiction’ comes up. No doubt, there’s a psychological component to dependence and addiction, but psychologizing the process entirely ignores the fact that some people have certain physiological quirks (e.g., a gene polymorphism which results in a chronic downregulation of limbic 5HT2a receptors) that makes them more prone to developing dependence or addiction. (FYI: 5HT is just shorthand for 5-hydroxytryptamine, aka serotonin.)

In addition to the meds that Japhroaig mentioned, there is another pharmacological class of meds, the 5HT3 antagonists, that greatly reduce the pleasurable effects of ethanol. This is because ethanol has specific binding affinities to certain receptors, principally among them the 5HT3 family. Certain cerebral 5HT3 receptors project to dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). This latter region, located in the midbrain, is one of the critical hubs of our reward circuit. Antagonism of these 5HT3 receptors thus attenuates the projected signal to this cluster of dopaminergic neurons, thus attenuating the rewarding effects of alcohol. Peer-reviewed clinical studies thus far show that this type of therapy has better long-term outcome if administered earlier in life, ideally while the person is at most dependent and not addicted.

I don’t mean to suggest that alcohol dependence and addiction can be entirely written up to biology. For one thing, that’s not true, and such a statement is every bit as useless and damaging as psychologically casting oneself as powerless. But it illustrates that we are complex beings who both influence and are influenced by our physiology, environment, beliefs, thoughts, and emotions. Realizing and accepting that is a good start to recovery.


I think you’re working from propaganda. The good information that I’ve been able to find indicates that drug addiction is more related to the phrase “self medication” than anything else. The problem is that they have other problems, and they are drowning their sorrows in whatever inebriant they’re using. You should consider the possibility that they have more control than you think, and that the options they see before them are all terrible (with the drug being the only reward-like outcome).

And again, that doesn’t address that 75-85% of users who are not addicts could benefit from this.


I believe that the substance he’s trying to invent is already in existence. It’s called “pot”.


If only it had an easily available antagonist. I’d be more tempted to use it if so.


If they are self medicating, then the answer would be anti-depressants, anti-psychotics or other appropriate psychiatric drugs. Giving them a synthetic form of alcohol with a high, and then an antidote shutting it off, offers no better solution to the underlying issues.

My point again, which has been taken wildly in other directions, is that people who aren’t making good decisions in the first place in terms of moderation, and even if self medicating (that isn’t a good decision), they might not make the appropriate decision about taking the antidote, if they are enjoying the high or escape from problems. Most people who have been really drunk, addicted or not, have made poor decisions under the influence, to some degree or another.

I never used the term “powerlessness”. I never went into origin of addiction, causation or that addicts or abusers were bad people. I was discussing particular behavior that was destructive and not based on rational decision making.


I didn’t actually mean solve their problems with “anti-depressants, anti-psychotics or other appropriate psychiatric drugs.” I meant, solve their problems. Some of it may be mental health problems, and some of those may be best treated with drugs, but this also includes a lot of other things. For instance, our society is setup to limit opportunities of people at the bottom, and this feeds into the addiction rate (not the other way around).

“even if self medicating (that isn’t a good decision)” How do you know? What if it is one of the better options? What if they are being more rational than you give them credit for?

“Most people who have been really drunk, addicted or not, have made poor decisions under the influence, to some degree or another.” I’d agree strongly with that statement (my Dad was permanently disabled by a drunk driver). But there hasn’t been a readily available get-sober pill, so we’ve never run this experiment. Frankly, I don’t see his work making the world worse. People are going to use drugs, and when given the opportunity for more control, at least some people will take it, and it would make the world a safer place.


Finding it too hard to have fun or relax by yourself? Try the classic, Booze!
Finding relying on booze too inconvenient or problematic? Rely on new, After-Booze!

After-Booze! Because if you want to imbibe a tasteless, colorless liquid whose only effect is to force you to relax because you can’t manage that on your own, science is there to help!


I drink alcohol because I like the taste of wine, whisky and beer. Unless they can figure out a way to make this alternative naturally develop in distillation/fermentation I’m not too interested.

Edit : I guess it’s the same with caffeine - I love to make a good coffee but have no interest in popping caffeine tablets.


Is the good doctor aware that it’s already possible to get high without alcohol? It just isn’t legal, but that’s not a problem to be solved in the laboratory.


Weed and alcohol affect me really differently - when I drink, I mostly just get really happy (besides the degradation of motor skills), but when I smoke weed, I mainly just want to go to sleep. I don’t really consider it the same kind of high.


Neither do I. I’m just saying, inventing a drug to get you high isn’t all that revolutionary. We already have many of them.


He’s very, very aware. He got sacked for basically saying that doing so was OK, and we shouldn’t be dicks about it. I reckon it’s quite elegant; if he’s really looking for venture capital to make some weird space-alcohol drink, it gets people talking about the stupid situation re: drugs in general, which is exactly what I reckon he’s set out to do.


Oh. Yeah, fair enough.


Pot is not without side-effects. The worst thing that happens when I drink too much is I may throw up, make poor judgements, and have a hangover the next day.

If I consume THC, I will suffer a near debilitating depression for the next 2-3 days after the high has passed. I am not sure why it happens, but the substance is not for everyone.


There’s always low-alcohol and no-alcohol beverages. Modern reverse osmosis filtering is advanced enough to only remove water and alcohol molecules from a matured, unfinished beer, and the water can be readded for the finishing phase. Since both water and alcohol are tasteless, the only noticeable effect is the lack of a buzz.

Of course, such beverages are more expensive because there’s little demand for them. The vast majority of people drink for the chemical effects - for most, the taste is merely a secondary perk.


I for one would love to have a good bourbon with little or no alcohol.


I realize that pot is not the perfect drug, but it is much more benign for most people than booze. There are other substances that, if legalized, would provide relief for our society’s over-reliance on alcohol to get altered.

So let’s get the drugs we have that work to be available, rather than making up new ones.


If only there were a way to turn off that high, though. I would use it more if it didn’t take so much time.


Why can’t it be both?