I know the title of this article is kind of an oxymoron, but so is this newest invention: former government drug advisor, Professor David Nutt, has identified the compounds necessary to evoke the sensation of being wasted minus the physical effects to the body. He also has found compounds that can instantly reverse the pseudo-drunkenness as well.
Professor Nutt commented that “this would be a serious revolution in health..just like the e-cigarette is going to revolutionize the smoking of tobacco.” This guy may be a little nutty (come on, you knew I was going to go there), but he has a good point. If we have the chemicals to substitute alcohol’s damaging qualities but still provide the same feel-good effect, maybe we should give this drug a whirl. According to NBC News, 75,000 Americans die as a result of alcohol. In 2001, the CDC estimated that 34,833 people died from cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, and other diseases caused by excessive drinking. Approximately 40,933 people died from car crashes and other alcohol-induced disasters.
We all know alcohol is bad for you. But so is fast food. And stalking your exes on Facebook. The truth is that we are going to do what we’re going to do, because that’s the essence of the human condition. However, if an alcoholic was given the chance to switch over to a less harmful substitute for alcohol, this could potentially prevent a colossal amount of deaths and health problems.
There are other benefits to this miraculous drug. For instance, individuals who can’t consume alcohol due to health conditions (such as ulcers or frequent headaches) can take this pill instead. Teenagers who, regardless of what adults will tell them not to do, want to experiment with alcohol can take this concoction and not run the risk of getting alcohol poisoning. For others, the reverse effect Professor Nutt believes he can create could help avoid pesky hangovers or scary blackouts that involve eating three burritos from Del Taco at 3 in the morning.
On the flip side, this idea might be incredibly stupid.
This derivative of alcohol is still a drug. It might be “harmless” but it’s an artificially created depressant. Things can totally go wrong. People can still technically overdose, and just because there aren’t any harmful effects now, doesn’t mean that some won’t be discovered five years later (after thousands of people develop ultra-early Alzheimer’s or something).
Also, is this invention even necessary? It’s encouraging people to get buzzed in order to have a good time. Individuals who may have avoided alcohol for health reasons may jump on this bandwagon if they are promised smoother social interactions. Do we really need to be socially wasted to have a good time? Nineteen year-old me would argue hell yes, and present day me is not really sure. I’m not advocating anyone to be straight edge, but I’m not in support of doing away with alcohol either. Alcohol serves its purpose in moderation, sure. I’ve employed a cocktail or two or three during any and all family gatherings, but I also understand I shouldn’t depend on this as a buffer. Maybe this substitute will be okay in moderation, too. But are we ready for a drug that supposedly has no determined consequences?
Another good point to bring up is the fact that alcohol lobbyists will absolutely not let this drug get big on the market. There is just no way. Get sloshed without all the badly made decisions? Sounds like a dream alcohol companies will squash with millions of dollars.
Professor Nutt states, “I find it weird that we haven’t been speaking about this before.” I think we have, though. If you’ve ever forced down a shot and miserably wished that you didn’t have to deal with alcohol’s evil ways with your taste buds and body, then you’re one of millions. People have thought about this forever. But maybe it hasn’t been invented yet because it’s too good to be true. Maybe we shouldn’t trust something that sounds too perfect to be real. Maybe this idea is brilliant. Maybe it’s stupid. Let’s drink to the uncertainty.
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