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The forum for the research and development of Safe Alternatives to Alcohol - SARAA's


Alcohol abuse can break families apart


Alcohol is one of the leading causes of death in the world today among males under 50


To ignore the terrible harms Alcohol does to society is no longer an option.

By philipedwards, Jan 14 2018 08:34PM

14 January, 2018

Dry January was initiated in 2013 by the charity Alcohol Concern as a campaign which challenges participants to abstain from alcohol for the 31 days of January. The aim of Dry January was to change public attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol consumption, to raise awareness of alcohol related problems and educate people about the health benefits of abstaining. The Alcohol Concern website claims that 49% of people who participated last year lost weight and 67% had improved sleep. Since its inception, registration to the Dry January app has increased 15-fold. It has also been suggested, that in addition to the official figures, around 1 million people undertake a form of unofficial Dry January.

The increasing number of Dry January participants indicates a growing awareness of the health benefits that reducing alcohol intake brings. The latest advice from the Chief Medical Officer specifies that no amount of alcohol is safe to drink and therefore any attempt to cut-back should be commended. However, a common criticism of the campaign is that 31 days sober does not always lead to changing consumption behaviours all year round and can even be ruined by a celebratory February binge. The growing awareness of the harms of alcohol highlight that the time may be right for a revolutionary alternative.

At Alcarelle, we are looking to develop ‘free-from’ alcohol alternatives which would allow people to have the benefits of Dry January all year round. It would aim to mimic some aspects of alcohol but without the associated health issues like cancer, liver disease and hangovers.

The growth in participation in the Dry January campaign has partially been attributed to ‘social contagion’. If people around you start to reduce their alcohol intake, you are more likely to do the same. Therefore, this campaign has illustrated the power of changing social attitudes towards alcohol consumption. These changing attitudes create a perfect environment to introduce a new ‘free-from’ beverage based on cutting edge scientific technologies, in order to permanently banish Christmas guilt and minimise the need for the new year detox.

Alcohol is ingrained in our culture and socialising and letting our hair down is vital to our wellbeing. A ‘free-from’ alternative beverage would allow consumers to make healthier choices all year round. So, let’s ditch the lime and soda, try something new and make a new year’s resolution we can get excited about.


1. Alcohol Concern Website

2. Richard O. de Visser, Emily Robinson, Tom Smith, Gemma Cass, Matthew Walmsley; The growth of ‘Dry January’: promoting participation and the benefits of participation, European Journal of Public Health, Volume 27, Issue 5, 1 October 2017, Pages 929–931,

3. UK Chief Medical Officers’ Alcohol Guidelines Review, January 2016

By philipedwards, Oct 4 2016 09:23AM

Professor David Nutt - Address at Conservative Party Conference Birmingham 4 October 2016

Amending regulations to empower UK research in brain disorders

The Brexit vote has few benefits for the scientific community but the one that is most immediately apparent is that the UK can now [in principle] decide on its own rules for human research and medicines development. In this way we can potentially achieve the same success in the pharmaceutical sector that the Swiss have achieved by being outside the European regulations.

Alcohol - Costs To Society

Alcohol is, after cigarette smoking, the leading cause of premature death in the world with 4 million preventable deaths per year. In the UK the figure is more than 25 thousand with a particular impact on young people. Currently alcohol use is the leading cause of death in men under 50, and will achieve the same unwanted status in women within a few years because young women are drinking so much more now. The societal damage created by alcohol includes around £4billion to the NHS, £20billion to industrial accidents lost days at work and lost productivity and £8 billion to the police, judicial and custodial services.

Is There a Better Way ?

The intrinsic toxicity of alcohol and its inevitable breakdown product acetaldehyde means that there is no way of avoiding harm other than to reduce alcohol intake. UK scientists have discovered an alternative to alcohol that provides equivalent enjoyment but is much less harmful in terms of bodily toxicity, addiction and behavioural problems. If Britain were allowed to lead the way in this exciting new arena, the economic benefits to Britain would be enormous.

It's Time To Learn from History

Currently there are two threats to the development of this in the UK – the new Psychoactive Substances act and the European regulations protecting alcohol industry. Both can be dealt with easily – eg alcohol alternatives can be exempted from the PSAct and we can devolve from the European controls; this would allow UK industry to lead the world in this new venture. As things stand however, the reality is that it will be countries like China and Israel which will provide a home for our research and our subsequent commercialisation. We let penicillin slip through our hands, we need to learn from history.

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