A synthetic form of booze with all the fun parts of alcohol but none of its downsides

The bottom line is, I’ve worked in the field of alcohol for my whole professional life — I’ve worked on treatments for alcohol withdrawal, I’ve worked on anti-craving agents — and you can never truly get rid of the harms of alcohol, because it’s a toxic substance.

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Since you can’t get round [the problems that come with alcohol], what we need to do is find a way of replicating the good effects — things like relaxation and sociability, maybe a bit of animation. Over the years, enough people have studied the effects of alcohol on the brain that we’ve got a pretty good idea how to target just the good effects, but not the bad bits.

Alcohol is a difficult drug to mimic, but we’ve got three or four good candidates. It’s not just about how they make you feel; you’ve also got to consider the cost of production and other variables. There are two compounds in particular that I’d be perfectly happy to raise some money for.

Nick Leftley interviews David Nutt, the man who wants to eradicate hangovers by 2050. The downsides of alcohol are obvious. Logically, it makes a lot of sense that we'd supplant it with something less physiologically harmful if it were available, but with the politics that'd be involved, I struggle to see this happening.

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