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Non-Intoxicating Alcohol in Development

In the Star Trek universe, synthehol is a substance that simulates the taste of alcohol without its inebriating effects. Three and a half years ago, Alex mentioned that a British pharmacologist named David Nutt claimed that such a substance was hypothetically possible. Now Nutt is leading a research team at Imperial College London to develop this drug:

Prof Nutt and his team are concentrating their efforts on benzodiazepines, of which diazepam, the chief ingredient of Valium is one.

Thousands of candidate benzos are already known to science. He said it is just a matter of identifying the closest match and then, if necessary, tailoring it to fit society’s needs.[...]

“I’ve been in experiments where I’ve taken benzos,” said Professor Nutt. “One minute I was sedated and nearly asleep, five minutes later I was giving a lecture.

“No one’s ever tried targeting this before, possibly because it will be so hard to get it past the regulators.

“Most of the benzos are controlled under the Medicines Act. The law gives a privileged position to alcohol, which has been around for 3,000 years. But why not use advances in pharmacology to find something safer and better?”

Link via io9 | Image: Paramount

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Date
December 28th, 2009

Author
Stranger to the World

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