Christmas is nearly here which means many people around the country will be indulging in their favourite alcoholic beverages to celebrate the festive season.
While countries like Australia have a massive drinking culture, scientists have predicted that alcohol as we know it won’t exist within a decade.
Speaking to IB Times, former government drugs adviser Professor David Nutt, alcohol “could practically disappear from Western countries within a generation.”
Instead, he believes that a synthetic version of alcohol which isn’t as harmful and won’t give people headaches or hangovers will become the new norm.
“In another 10 or 20 years, Western societies won’t drink alcohol except on rare occasions,” he predicted.
“Alcosynth will become the preferred drink, in the same way that I can see – almost within a decade now in the Western world – tobacco and cigarettes will disappear as they’re replaced by electronic cigarettes.”
At present, more than 3.3 million deaths worldwide are the result of alcohol and it is hoped that the synthetic versions of popular beverages will bring the number down dramatically.
According to the ABC, 15 people die each day in Australia from alcohol-related illnesses, with a further 430 people being admitted to hospital each day.
So how do the synthetics actually work?
IB Times suggests that the synthetics don’t damage the liver, heart, blood vessels or brain, but still give you the same pleasurable feelings of normal alcohol.
This morning’s episode of Today ran a segment about the story, with plenty of people sharing their thoughts online.
One sceptical person wrote: “As soon as you hear the word synthetic, automatically you know it will do more damage than naturally forming alcohol…”
Another viewer added: “Synthetic isn’t at all healthy. It will just increase more illnesses within the body.”
A third comment read: “I’d rather drink water and they use their research funds to focus on cancer.”
One of the show’s hosts said that it’s not healthy to avoid a hangover altogether, noting that it’s usually our bodies telling us that we’ve had too much to drink.