In the 24th century depicted by Star Trek: The Next Generation (and DS9 & VOY), alcohol has been superseded by ‘synthehol’, which removes the effects of intoxication and addiction. However, it seems this is another bit of Treknology that will become a reality long before we Trek to the stars. Details below
Researchers at Imperial College of London are trying to find the holy grail of drinking. An alternative to alcohol that has the postive effects, but none of the negative. A new article in the UK Telegraph explains:
The synthetic alcohol, being developed from chemicals related to Valium, works like alcohol on nerves in the brain that provide a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation.
But unlike alcohol its does not affect other parts of the brain that control mood swings and lead to addiction. It is also much easier to flush out of the body.
Finally because it is much more focused in its effects, it can also be switched off with an antidote, leaving the drinker immediately sober.
Work is not yet complete but the team have narrowed down the research to focus on known chemicals related to valium and according to the report it is "Just a matter of identifying the closest match." More info at Telegraph.
Scotty discovers synthehol
In the TNG episode "Relics" Montgomery Scott finds out that in the 24th century you need to be a lot more specific when you order at a bar, when he ends up with some Scotch made with synthehol. Commander Data explains the difference and helps him find some real booze. You can watch his reaction below (Skip to 3:10 in the video)
Thanks to Joseph for the twitter tip