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Want to drink without getting drunk? There's a (possibly dangerous) pill for that

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Imagine: a pill you could take before a night of drinking that would prevent you from making your tequila-induced mistakes.

You wouldn't send embarrassing (and grammatically incorrect) text-message pleas to your ex, begging him to take you back. You wouldn't go home with Marv from IT after the company holiday party. You wouldn't tell your sister – in a profanity-laced rant – what you really think of her fiancé and his stupid, obviously put-on British accent.

The Adelaide Herald Sun reports a group of Australian scientists are developing a "stay sober" pill. In a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, the research team used a drug to blocked a part of the immune system on mice and fed them alcohol. They found the mice didn't experience the effects of alcohol as much when that receptor was blocked – essentially, the mice seemed to stay sober.

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The head researcher, Mark Hutchinson, told the Adelaide Herald Sun the effect could be imitated on human subjects, too, to both curb the effects of alcohol on the brain but also to make drinking less attractive. "The pill changes the focus of the wiring of the brain and also helps alcohol cravings," he said.

He told the paper the pill could be used to reduce accidents as a result of drinking and driving since an individual's motor skills would not be affected by one-too-many beers.

But the existence of such a drug could also give drinkers a license to over-indulge. Now, your friends might know you've had too much to drink and put you in a cab when you start slurring or if you pass out, but would there be any clear signals if you took the pill before a party? Would you know yourself when to call it a night?

Gizmodo writer Brent Rose points out the effect could be similar to that of Four Loko – those trendy (and now banned) alcoholic drinks that contained caffeine and gave people a false sense of sobriety. As a result, many drank more than they should have and wound up in hospital for alcohol poisoning.

What do you think of the idea of a "stay sober" pill? Is it a great way to prevent drunken foolishness or a dangerous innovation?

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About the Author

Dakshana Bascaramurty is a national news reporter who writes about race and ethnicity. She won a 2013 National Newspaper Award in beat reporting for her coverage of changing demographics in the 905 region. Previously, she was a feature writer for Globe Life. More

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