Perhaps inspired by that fictional science,
researchers at the Imperial College London are seeking to make
a real world Synthehol-like beverage for guilt-free enjoyment.
The research is led by Professor David Nutt, considered by most to be
Britain's top drugs expert. Professor Nutt is a somewhat
controversial figure who was recently canned from a government
advisory position due to his comments on cannabis and
Professor Nutt's team is focusing on chemicals
similar to Valium that work on the same nerves as alcohol, giving a
"buzzed" feeling of wellbeing and relaxation. The
selected candidate could be quickly switched off by ingesting a
chemical counter-agent, allowing partiers to safely drive home.
The novel drug also is being designed not to affect the mood centers
of the brain which alcohol incidentally triggers. This
accidental triggering is believed to be the major source of alcohol
addiction, so in theory, the new alcohol substitute could be
non-addicting (according to the researchers), or at least less
The researchers are looking at thousands of
benzodiazepines, a class of chemicals consisting of fused carbon and
nitrogen rings that act on neurotransmitters. Diazepam, the
most well known member of the family, is the chief ingredient in
Like alcohol, the synthetic spirit is being designed
to be tasteless and colorless, though it will likely lack the
characteristic "burn" that alcohol creates when ingested.
Professor Nutt believes that the beer, wine and spirits industry
could eventually embrace the substance. He says that this could
have a profound effect on society, eliminating the hundreds of
millions that suffer the ill effects of intoxication and alcohol
addiction worldwide. Alcohol use and abuse is not only linked
to a variety of injuries and medical afflictions, but also to a
large percentage of the crimes committed worldwide.
Nutt says that he can personally attest to the safety and efficacy of
"benzos". He states, "I’ve been in experiments
where I’ve taken benzo. One minute I was sedated and nearly asleep,
five minutes later I was giving a lecture. No one’s ever tried
targeting this before, possibly because it will be so hard to get it
past the regulators. Most of the benzos are controlled under the
Medicines Act [in Britain]. The law gives a privileged position to
alcohol, which has been around for 3,000 years. But why not use
advances in pharmacology to find something safer and
Despite this early optimism, significant
questions remain. "Benzos" like valium have been
linked to cognitive impairments and paradoxical effects such as
aggression or behavioral disinhibition occasionally occur among
users. While they don't addict like alcohol, they have been
shown to induce tolerance, physical dependence and upon cessation of
use, a withdrawal syndrome. There's also concern for the
potential for teratogenicity (causation of birth defects) and
increased risks when benzos are consumed with other
Nonetheless, you can't fault Professor Nutt and his
team for trying to create a next generation alcohol substitute.
That goal is ambitious and would surely be enough to make even Quark,
"The Synthehol King", excited, if he existed in the real
quote: Personally, he's par for the course as presidents go in their first year
quote: He just inherited a crap-ass America that was the result of many factors, economic, political or otherwise.
quote: So everyone would feel better about his policies if he were white?
quote: If we want another great depression, we can just keep spending money we don't have on Government projects.
quote: Sept. 17, 2004 - Q: Would you please explain why the Republicans keep saying they inherited a recession? How accurate is that statement? — Gary G., Sinking Spring, Pa. A: Like much of what you hear during this political season, there's a bit of truth on both sides. Let's look at the numbers: Employment levels peaked in March of 2001 with 132.5 million American on non-farm payrolls – two months after Bush took office. So, if you go by the jobs data, the recession began on Bush’s watch. That's one of the key statistics cited by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the private group that tracks business cycles. It’s widely regarded by economists as the arbiter of just when recessions begin and end. According to the NBER, the recession began in March, 2001. Story continues below ?advertisement | your ad here But economic expansion doesn’t come screeching to a halt just because a new president takes office. The seeds of the slowdown were clearly in place. After nearly a decade of uninterrupted quarterly gains, the Gross Domestic Product shrank by 0.5 percent in the third quarter of 2000. (A slight drop in GDP doesn’t by itself, indicate a recession is near. But in this case, it seems to have foreshadowed the slowdown.) More important, perhaps, was the bursting of the stock market bubble. Measured by the S&P 500 index, the stock market peaked on Sept. 1, 2000 at 1520.77. Again, a stock market pullback -– by itself -– doesn’t indicate the start of a recession. But it’s often a pretty good predictor of an impending slowdown. The real question is whether the Bush administration did everything it could to reverse the decline and get the economy back on track. For example, Bush has very appropriately blamed the terror attacks of 9/11 for sending the U.S. economy further into recession. But were those attacks preventable? If so, should the Bush administration bear some of the responsibility for not heading them off? (We'll let you decide the answer to that one.) As with much of the debate in the current presidential campaign, these numbers probably won’t change too many minds. The record clearly shows that the recession began on Bush’s watch, even though there were signs it was coming during the last months of the Clinton administration. Whether the outcome would have been different with a Democrat in the White House is really unknowable.
quote: I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, "Well, I hope he succeeds. We've got to give him a chance." Why? They didn't give Bush a chance in 2000. Before he was inaugurated the search-and-destroy mission had begun. I'm not talking about search-and-destroy, but I've been listening to Barack Obama for a year-and-a-half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don't want them to succeed.
quote: Look, what he's talking about is the absorption of as much of the private sector by the US government as possible, from the banking business, to the mortgage industry, the automobile business, to health care. I do not want the government in charge of all of these things. I don't want this to work. So I'm thinking of replying to the guy, "Okay, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails .
quote: Were the liberals out there hoping Bush succeeded or were they out there trying to destroy him before he was even inaugurated? Why do we have to play the game by their rules? Why do we have to accept the premise here that because of the historical nature of his presidency, that we want him to succeed? This is affirmative action, if we do that. We want to promote failure, we want to promote incompetence, we want to stand by and not object to what he's doing simply because of the color of his skin? Sorry. I got past the historical nature of this months ago. He is the president of the United States, he's my president, he's a human being, and his ideas and policies are what count for me, not his skin color, not his past, not whatever ties he doesn't have to being down with the struggle, all of that's irrelevant to me. We're talking about my country, the United States of America, my nieces, my nephews, your kids, your grandkids. Why in the world do we want to saddle them with more liberalism and socialism? Why would I want to do that? So I can answer it, four words, "I hope he fails." And that would be the most outrageous thing anybody in this climate could say. Shows you just how far gone we are.
quote: As to the approval ratings, that doesn't really mean much. I don't remember getting polled
quote: I never mentioned his policies. I said there has been outright disrespect, from the "You lie" shout
quote: to the "I hope he fails" comment... And why would you want your president to fail? That would mean the country would fail, as well.
quote: If anything, you would want him to be receptive of your alternate viewpoint, which means *gasp* working together. Kind of like in a democracy...
quote: As to 9/11, what exactly did he do? Nothing, really. It was rescue workiers across the country (police, firemen, medical workers, etc...) who traveled to NYC to help out. Bush's approval rating went to 90%, yet there is no record of what he actually did beyond speeches.
quote: I never mentioned his policies. I said there has been outright disrespect, from the "You lie" shout to the "I hope he fails" comment.
quote: And why would you want your president to fail? That would mean the country would fail
quote: Kind of like in a democracy...
quote: I said the same thing about the $700B bailout, otherwise known as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. A fat lot of good it's done for people's jobs.
quote: Funny. I remember the Democrats in Congress screaming that SOMETHING had to be done. That these banks were "too big to fail". That we simply could NOT wait.
quote: Look into the "Bush" recession in his first year that was inherited from the previous administration. Then 9-11. Look at the tax policies and the recovery of the economy. It is now historical fact, and you can argue all you want, but we recovered quickly and had near full employment and lower deficits. Try to take an objective view at things to get some perspective.
quote: That's true of all politicians, they have their fans and detractors. Obama is just another politician, but the reaction against him is so extreme that it creates an equally intense reaction in those who support him, and vice versa. Personally, he's par for the course as presidents go in their first year, no better or worse. He just inherited a crap-ass America that was the result of many factors, economic, political or otherwise. Dissatisfaction tends to breed high expectations and little faith, so it's only natural that people don't trust him. And the fact that he's a little darker than most people at that level tends to breed a lack of respect, but there aren't many people who would admit that. *cough* Rep. Wilson and Limbaugh *cough*
quote: Why not blame Obama... everyone else does ;-)
quote: Professor Nutt is a somewhat controversial figure who was recently canned
quote: Diazepam, the most well known member of the family, is the chief ingredient in Valium.
quote: While they don't addict like alcohol, they have been shown to induce tolerance, physical dependence and upon cessation of use, a withdrawal syndrome.
quote: The novel drug also is being designed not to affect the mood centers of the brain which alcohol incidentally triggers. This accidental triggering is believed to be the major source of alcohol addiction, so in theory, the new alcohol substitute could be non-addicting (according to the researchers), or at least less so.
quote: Professor Nutt says that he can personally attest to the safety and efficacy of "benzos".
quote: He states, "I’ve been in experiments where I’ve taken benzo. One minute I was sedated and nearly asleep, five minutes later I was giving a lecture.
quote: I don't understand this sentence. You state that benzos don't addict like alcohol, but in the same sentence state that they cause physical dependence and withdrawal syndrome. That is addiction. Benzodiazepines absolutely cause addiction.
quote: Professor Nutt believes that the beer, wine and spirits industry could eventually embrace the substance.