[Paleopsych] Cape Times: Scientists show way to non-addictive drugs

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Fri Sep 2 01:45:13 UTC 2005

Scientists show way to non-addictive drugs

[Recall Mr. Mencken's definition of a puritan as you read this.]

It is the news that clubbers have been waiting for. Scientists are
working on a range of recreational drugs that can produce similar
effects to alcohol but with fewer of the side-effects.

Experts looked 20 years into the future to discover what kind of drugs
we would be taking, and came up with a surprising range of findings,
that open up the prospect of Sunday mornings without a thumping
hangover or the "parrot's cage" mouth.

They have also been able to separate the effect of one psychoactive
substance from its addictive properties, leading an expert panel to
advise British government ministers that "this could pave the way to
non-addictive recreational drugs".

One of the new substances has even been found to reduce the side
effects of recreational drugs. "Such compounds might allow users to
shape their drug experience," said the panel headed by Sir David King,
the government's chief scientific adviser.

His report to the Trade and Industry secretary, Alan Johnson, raises
the possibility that, in a generation, Britain's dinner parties could
become more like Woody Allen's "orb" scene in the futuristic film
Sleeper, where guests get high by rubbing the orb instead of inhaling
a joint.

The report said: "There are a number of new and developing
technologies that could be used to deliver drugs in new ways. Examples
include patches, vaporisers, depot injection and direct neural
stimulation... this may encourage the development of technology for
the slower release of recreational psychoactive substances, which
could reduce the risk of addiction."

Some drugs developed to tackle health problems are capable of being
used for improving the performance of the brain. Madafinil, which was
introduced to treat narcolepsy, can keep normal people awake for three
days, says the report.

Other drugs could be used to stop alcohol triggering a need for a

"Drinking with friends might no longer create a trigger for an
individual to smoke tobacco," the panel said.

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