Potential alcohol substitute: would you choose to drink it?
I read an article in New Scientist this morning detailing the development of a new cocktail of drugs that mimics the neurological actions that cause the pleasurable effects of alcohol without causing any of the downsides. Whilst limiting the immediate adverse effects, such as violence and illness, it would also reduce the occurrence of longer-term problems like liver cirrhosis.
This all sounds like a fantastic idea, but I'm not sure I'm convinced that it will catch on. It started me thinking about my habits: I know I sometimes feel like I just need to go out and get a little pissed at the end of a long week, but most of the time I drink alcoholic beverages because I like the taste of them. What reason do people really have for drinking alcohol: is it for the love of the drinks themselves or the way that they affect you? What is it particularly about the state of drunkenness that is so attractive that we want to repeat it: many people still go out and binge drink despite often being ill and wasting days as a result of painful hangovers? Would there be a stigma associated with an alcohol substitute because it is an admission that you only like drinking because it gets you drunk?