Andy Morton

Will "consequence-free" drink drive us out of a job?

By: Andy Morton - 12 November 2013 17:44

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Professor David Nutt, a clever bod who used to advise the UK Government on addiction, claims he is close to discovering a chemical compound that replicates the feeling of drunkenness, but without the hangover.

So what does this mean? Is the alcohol industry about to collapse as everyone shuns beer, spirits and wine for these new, consequence free, super drinks?

Not quite.

As Nutt himself writes: “The challenge is to prepare the new drink in a fashion that makes it as tasty and appealing.” Which, reading between the lines, tells me his chemical compounds taste about as inviting as they sound. Certainly not a patch on a 12-year-old malt.

Another reason we're all still likely to keep our jobs is that there are other factors for why people choose to drink. 

According to Ronald Siegel's book “Intoxication - Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise”, our desire to indulge is really an innate longing to alter our state of awareness. Siegal calls it the “fourth drive”, and puts it alongside food, sex and thirst as humankind's greatest and most basic motivators.

Though, of course, if, as Siegal says, all we desire from alcohol is the changed brain state that comes with it, then perhaps Nutt's chemical stand-ins are the perfect replacement. We scratch the itch, but we don't bleed, as it were.

In which case, we are all out of a job. And I'm in need of a stiff drink.

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