Tests begin on new drink-busting drug

The potential value of a pill to battle the effects of intoxication is huge, both in health and in social terms

Scientists are working on a drug that appears to prevent drunkenness.

In experiments in the US, dozens of men aged 21 to 35 will be given iomazenil, followed by alcohol, and will then be allowed to "drive" on a simulator.

According to the research team led by Deepak D'Souza – of the Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System and Yale School of Medicine – the drug is believed to block receptors in the brain that process alcohol. If it turns out that the drug does block or slow the effect of alcohol in getting people drunk, it could pave the way for a pill for alcoholics and binge drinkers fighting their affliction.

Dr D'Souza told The IoS last night that he was "cautiously optimistic" of success.

The potential value of such a medication is huge. In 2010 there were 8,790 alcohol-related deaths in the UK.