Western societies could give up alcohol within a generation in favour of hangover-free synthetic alcohol, a leading drugs scientist has claimed.
Professor David Nutt, a former government drugs advisor teaching at Imperial College, said “alcosynth” will mimic the popular effects of alcohol – without the sickness and throbbing headache commonly experienced the following day.
Professor Nutt also said he believed tobacco and cigarettes will be replaced by electronic cigarettes within a decade.
“In another 10 or 20 years, Western societies won’t drink alcohol except on rare occasions,” he told IBTimes UK.
“Alcosynth will become the preferred drink, in the same way that I can see – almost within a decade now in the Western world – tobacco and cigarettes will disappear as they’re replaced by electronic cigarettes.”
Between 2014-15, an estimated 1.1 million people were admitted to hospital for issues related to alcohol consumption, according to Alcohol Concern, and harms related to the drug are estimated to cost the NHS around £3.5bn a year.
It is claimed alcosynth will provide the positive benefits of alcohol, such as social disinhibition, without the harmful side effects.
“It could well change culture,” Professor Nutt said. “If there’s less intoxication then there will be less violence on the street, less vomiting and less unpleasantness in our city centres.
“There are some people that want to get intoxicated so they can just fight or be ‘out of it’, but most people want to drink alcohol to enjoy the experience, though inevitably alcohol harms them.”
He added: ”Alcohol kills more than malaria, meningitis, tuberculosis and dengue fever put together. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could replace alcohol with something that led to almost no deaths?
“That would be one of the greatest public health developments in the history of the world.”