Alcohol 2.0

click this image to go to the video and accompanying text

Alcohol rarely features in our pages, but in the spirit of public service announcement this pair seems worth sharing:

The Opinion Video above is about a drug problem — but not the one you may think. While the United States struggles to deal with the opioid crisis, there’s a quieter drug epidemic that has been unfolding for a lot longer. It involves a substance that was normalized long ago but that, by some measures, plays a role in more than 140,000 deaths a year.

It’s alcohol.

But don’t worry. We here at Opinion Video are not a bunch of temperance reformers coming to take away your six-packs and single malts. We just think there’s a lot more that American lawmakers could be doing to lessen the harm that alcohol causes…

The Economist podcast episode below, from a couple months back, is a useful bookend to the op-ed above. It illuminates the mysteries of the hangover and the chemistry of new alcohol-free, healthy and buzz-inducing alternatives:

How alternatives to alcohol could save lives

Our podcast on science and technology. This week, we explore how innovators are dreaming up ways to enjoy the effects of alcohol, without the costs

ALCOHOL IS the most widely used drug in the world, but it is also the cause of three million deaths each year and has been linked to many other long-term illnesses. In addition, the loss of productivity due to hangovers has an outsized impact on some economies. People still want to have a good time, though, and innovators are dreaming up ways to enjoy the effects of alcohol, without the costs.

Jason Hosken, our producer, visits Brixton Brewery to speak to co-founders Jez Galaun and Xochitl Benjamin about the rise of alcohol-free beer. Natasha Loder, The Economist’s health editor, investigates the herbal drinks that claim to mimic the effects of alcohol. Plus, David Nutt, a professor at Imperial College London explains how alcohol affects the brain and why his synthetic alcohol could reduce excessive drinking and end hangovers forever.

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