Consumer Products

Scientists May Have Found a Way to Get Drunk With No Ill Effects

Colman Andrews

“Wouldn’t it be great if a night of drinking didn’t pose a risk to our health and we could wake up the next morning feeling fresh and ready to go?” That’s the question posed on its website by a London-based enterprise called Alcarelle Ltd., which is currently developing a synthetic alcohol, or alcosynth, that will theoretically make exactly that possible.

It’s no secret that a significant portion of humanity enjoys the feeling of intoxication, in America as well as almost everywhere else. (The American cities with the highest rates of alcohol abuse tend to be concentrated in the Midwest.)

Scientists debate exactly why we like intoxication so much, but meanwhile, we’ve figured out countless ways to achieve that state — from opioids to edibles to that most popular and diverse of social lubricants, alcohol.

The problem is that alcohol is the second most addictive substance known to humankind, after tobacco, and one of the most dangerous drugs in the world — both for its own effects, direct and indirect, and for its potentially fatal interactions with commonly used medications, like anti-anxiety drugs.

The group of clinical research scientists developing Alcarelle — the name of the product as well as the company — thinks it can mimic the pleasant effects of alcohol without flooding the body with the toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism, like acetaldehyde, which contributes to hangovers and may ultimately cause liver and brain damage.

Alcarelle’s plan, the firm’s managing director, David Orren, told The Irish Examiner, is to sell the product to companies that can develop new alcohol-free adult beverages based on their consumers’ tastes.

The bad news? The product still needs to complete safety testing and win regulatory approval, and Orren estimates that it won’t be on the market for about five years.