Put down your beer. Skip the single-malt. De-wine yourself. But still have a good ‘ol fashioned inebriated time…? Sounds a little too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, not to Prof. David Nutt, the current President of the British Neuroscience Association and Vice-President of the European Brain Council.
Nutt has used this new thing called ‘science’ to locate exactly what it is that alcohol is doing to our brains and why it makes us feel so good (and then so very, very bad). And basically, he’s managed to create something he calls ‘healthy alcohol’ – a pill that’ll mirror the effects of standard alcohol by targeting your brain’s ‘gaba’ neurotransmitter. It kind of reminds us of the ‘burnt toast’ heritage moment, but if we can party like rock stars all night and still manage to kill our morning meeting we’re gonna try and keep our arm-chair neuroscience degree to ourselves. The key with these drugs isn’t just that they make you feel tipsy but that they also come with a pill that sobers you up right away. Wanna go off the rails for exactly an hour and half? Cause now you can.
Nutt’s idea still includes serving you drinks. Our society has simply become too intertwined with the bottle to completely let it go. So the idea is that you’d head to a bar and order one of his concoctions in a wonderful tasting cocktail, get a buzz on, and then pop a sober pill before driving home. (Taxi companies everywhere just shuddered in fear.) Nutt claims he’s tried this on himself with superb results; “I know the antidote works. I was in a state of intoxication and five minutes later I was giving a lecture.” Sounds exactly like something we’ve done before only we assume he means his lecture was actually coherent.
While the positives that this new way of ‘drinking’ brings to the table are definitely formidable – a healthier liver, reduction of binge drinking, etc. – it remains to be seen just how far the rabbit hole of negative implications of this on/off drunk switch can go. After all, we’ve always kind of viewed hangovers as a form of penance – nature’s way of evening us out. This new technology however, seems to suggest we might not have to pay the price. And that sounds like it could be a very dangerous free ride.