Nutty professor’s magic medicine

We all enjoy a night out, and for most, alcohol plays a major role in that. But would a pill that removed those next morning hangover blues be wholly welcomed?

A drug that mimics the effect of alcohol with an antidote to reverse the effects so we are free to drag ourselves to that 9am lecture is being researched (with hopes of development) by one Professor Nutt. But his work has been halted due to a lack of funding, which may prove not to be a bad thing.

There are many arguments ‘for’ this drug. Undeniably, alcohol is a big burden to the country’s medical skills and resources, which are wasted in accident and emergency rooms. In 2011 there were 8,748 alcohol-related deaths in the UK. As well as this fatalities resulting from drink and drive accidents increased by 12 per cent from 2010 to 2011. With the many alcohol related deaths there are each year, perhaps it is time we took a fresh approach and looked for other alternatives to alleviate the strain that this overwhelming consumption of alcohol brings.

This pill would also eradicate the excess calories consumed in excess drinking which often lead to serious health complications.

However, years of testing and billions of pounds would have to be spent funding the research for this drug, not to mention rigorous protocols and testing before people would feel happy popping the pill itself. In fact, there are many harmless aspects to our relationship with alcohol.

Students, especially in their first few weeks at university, use drinking to bond, in this context a little bit of drinking isn’t a bad thing.

Often a bottle of their favourite tipple will go a long way as a Christmas gift too. It’s also a great back up present, giving alcohol as a gift is well received by many, I’m not sure that the giving of a pill would have the same effect.

To take it one step further, like everything in moderation, alcohol can be good for you. There are many studies reporting on the benefits of drinking. Dr Arthur Klatsky, a cardiologist in Canada, found that those who drank in moderation were less at risk than those who either drank heavily or abstained. Those who abstained completely were put into the ‘highest risk’ category.

We cannot ignore the problems that arise from irresponsible drinking. Turning a blind eye to weight, medical and social problems which heavy drinking brings to this country is irresponsible. Instead of resorting to a magic pill, we would do better to look at ways in which we can change our drinking culture.

For example, minimum unit pricing and stringent advertising restrictions have been proven to work. By focusing on what is going wrong, we can look at ways to put things right.

In practice we’re a long way off ever being presented with the opportunity to choose between the two. However, what we can choose to do is to drink more responsibility, and this, we should surely all agree on.

5 comments

  1. “Instead of resorting to a magic pill, we would do better to look at ways in which we can change our drinking culture.”

    Why not do both?

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  2. If this is even vaguely possible, this is probably worth a shitton of money, I know a few people who would pay a fortune to stop themselves vomiting on the bus

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  3. 10 Dec ’13 at 12:42 pm

    Lance Armstrong

    To make it clear, its not a “pill” you’d be taking. Nutt proposes to formulate beverages or cocktails with this alcohol mimicing drug. There are good and bad points about this.

    Good: Health risks due to alcohol would be diminished. The metabolic by-products of

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  4. 10 Dec ’13 at 1:10 pm

    Lance Armstrong

    To make it clear its not a “pill” you’d be taking. Nutt proposes to formulate beverages or cocktails with this alcohol mimicing drug. There are good and bad points about this.

    Good: Health risks due to alcohol would be diminished. The metabolic by-products of alcohol are what cause hangovers also alcohol is a very non-selective drug and interferes many different biochemical pathways in the body which cause undesired health effects. Hypothetically, this mimic would be totally selective hence minimsed health risks.

    Bad: Viability of making this into drinks which people will actually drink. The process of making beer, wine, whiskey etc involves fermentation process which give alcoholic drinks their signature taste. This will be hard to replicate. Lets face it, nobody is going to drink Nutts cocktails if they taste shite.

    The cost and time of development will be high. Additionally the muscles of the Pharmaceutical industry won’t invest money into development of this. There is no guarantee any drug will make it to market, only 1 in 100 drug discovery projects make it, due to the tight regulations and requirements you have to meet before a drug is approved by the FDA. Even if approved, will it become commerically viable? Its hard to say.

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    • 7 Jun ’14 at 9:28 pm

      Beverley Slomofsky

      I have written an essay in response to Lance’s comments.I should be happy to send it to anyone who requests it.

      Beverley Slomofsky.

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