WE have been poisoning ourselves for 2,000 years. Modern science can now provide a safer way for us to have fun.However, this completely misses the point. Alcoholic drinks have been enjoyed for thousands of years – they are part of our history and culture. Even when produced on an industrial scale, they are essentially made from natural ingredients rather than being synthesised in a laboratory.
I am working on a prototype of a synthetic alcohol. We can make someone feel pleasantly inebriated then reverse it.
We have a partial alternative tested on volunteers. With Government backing, the first ever synthetic alcohol could be available in three to five years.
The potential for this is enormous. It could slash Britain's binge drinking epidemic, which currently costs the NHS £3billion a year, and reduce the number of deaths from alcohol poisoning.
It often seems to be believed by members of the drug lobby that people only, or primarily, drink alcohol to get drunk, whereas nothing could be further from the truth. People consume alcoholic drinks, even the bog-standard ones, because they like the taste. Beer and cider in particular can be extremely refreshing, while whisky may raise your spirits on a chilly day. And wine in particular, but beer and cider too, can be an excellent complement to food.
It’s also probably true to say that, on a large majority of occasions when people drink alcohol, they experience nothing more than a slight glow. Of course people are not indifferent to the effect of alcohol, but it is not consumed solely for the effect in the way that cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and LSD are.
I would have zero interest in a pill that somehow simulated the effects of alcohol, and I doubt whether many other responsible drinkers who enjoy their beer, wine or spirits would either. Yes, in a sense, alcohol is a drug, but it is far more than just another drug – this plan would reduce it to that status.