Anti-booze pill not anti-harm

Australian scientists say they are close to developing a pill that will make it possible to drink without the associated effects.  In an experiment at the University of Adelaide, mice that had been given the drug managed to maintain good reflexes and motor coordination despite having been fed enough alcohol to make them falling down drunk.

One possible application of the pill would be to reduce drink driving, allowing drivers to be more coordinated despite having had a boozy night out.  The pill has also been considered for the treatment of alcoholism, and it is estimated that they could be on the market in as early as three years.

The problem, unfortunately, is that the pills do not in any way reduce the toxic effects of alcohol.  Alcohol increases the risks of high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, and mouth, throat, and breast cancers.  Studies show that people already drink more than the recommended 2-3 units a day for women and 3-4 units a day for men, with alcohol related illnesses costing the NHS £2.9 billion in 2008-9.  If people were able to drink without getting drunk, what would stop them from drinking till their livers shut down?

Drunkenness is your body’s way of telling you that you’ve been poisoned, and vomiting is your body’s way of expelling the poison.  If these natural safeguards are removed,  the consequences to health could be devastating.

An anti-booze pill is a completely over-engineered solution to a very simple problem.  If you want to reduce drink driving, reduce drinking!

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