Real-Life Synthehol Under Development

In the 24th century depicted by Star Trek: The Next Generation (and DS9 & VOY), alcohol has been superseded by ‘synthehol’, which removes the effects of intoxication and addiction.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


Synthetic Alchohol 

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

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But will it be available in “Green”?

My dad, I mean Scotty, prefers the real thing.

Don’t people drink to get the BUZZ anyway?

The Bottle is 1800 Tequila. My fav brand by the way :-)

Erm, did I read that right:

“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.”

Oh great, instead of becoming addicted to alcohol, they will make a person become addicted to PAINKILLERS, what a GREAT substitute!

(end sarcasm)

2- Back when I could, so did I. Deleterious effects and all.

Just seems like a long way to go around to get to a variation on the same problem. Addiction is NOT chemical only. It’s a habit taken too far. So… this is not going to avoid the pratfalls of drinking too much.

Besides, most good drunk-a-logues include the story of the hangover.

Jimmy was great in ‘Relics,’ BTW.

For anyone who wants more… that Scotty storyline continues in “Ship of the Line” by Diane Carey.

@5 You missed this part: ??
But unlike alcohol its does not affect other parts of the brain that control mood swings and lead to addiction.

I’m sure though it will be just like Iocaine Powder… if you build up immunity, ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Maybe they should cure, I don’t know, ALCOHOLISM before trying to make a real version of synthehol. Priorities.

@6 But it would remove the whole “killing your brain” thing that cause much physical and emotional abuse to both yourself and to those around you.

Saurian Brandy, yum.

with addiction, the central nervous system becomes dependant to the chemical it has become used to.
hence shakes, sweats and in severe cases, heart failure when the drug is removed.

Imagine it? You go out on a bender, have a great night you’ll never rememeber and as you’re thrown out by the bouncers at the door you’re given a “sober up” tablet.

10mins later you line up at the door and do it all again! Great!

I’d rather have a beer. A real beer.

We’ll always remember James Doohan with a sense of pride and respect. Loving the green!

Olley — The brain produces some pretty addictive chemicals of its own. Hence the very real addictions of sex, gambling, shopping, etc. Chemical addiction is just one aspect of the many-colored beast. Synthehol would not avoid all the problems. There may be reasons to market the stuff… but as a blessing to humanity… Nah.

Not sure how to feel about the synthehol, but James Doohan always brought such warmhearted charm to the screen … happy for any excuse to see a clip of him :)

Mr. Scott was The man! The myth! The miracle worker!

Oh yeah I can’t wait to drink synthehol, just like all the non-alcoholic beer I never drink.

“…works like alcohol on nerves in the brain that provide a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation.”

I’m sorry, but if you can become addicted to porn (trust me, you can be; avoid it kids!) then you can become addicted to that, I don’t care what the article says.

Yes, but will it make a good mix with Scotch?

I love a good scotch.

Anyone can become addicted to anything; my addiction happens to be Star Trek :-)

It is… It is green.

@21: I’ll let you know!

Anyone ever try “beer” sans the alcohol? Yeah…

Ok, but, I suppose I should reserve judgment until I try it….


Sorry, I prefer a real bavarian beer. Cheers!

I can remember watching this scene when it first aired. My brother walked in, seeing the movie version of Scotty talking to the Picard on the old Enterprise and said “I don’t even want to ask…”

“…chemicals related to Valium, works like alcohol on nerves in the brain that provide a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation. ”

“When humans first learned to control their military with drugs” – Q

I’m not quite sure why the comments appear to be saying this is of no value. A product that gives people the relaxation they seek with alcohol, with an ability to instantly snap out of it, and a loss of mood swings seems a pretty good thing to me as long as it tastes good. It sounds very much like synthehol in concept, if not as sophisticated perhaps. It clearly won’t erase addictive behaviors or alcohol itself, but could prove a useful method for *reducing* alcohol-related issues. Why isn’t that a good thing?

Of course, from Trek perspective one needs to assume that any such product would either not exist or not be widely accepted in the 23rd century since Scotty doesn’t know about it.

Maybe they can market it as Tru Booze… ;-)

Give me a big glass of Romulan Ale anyday!

Was anyone else slightly saddened when the clip from “Relics” ended?


I love working with a cast member who knows the routines.

Real sythenol? That could be a good idea for those who don’t drink or not allowed to for medical reasons. So its suppose to interat with the nervous like alcohol? Hmmm will it make me feel like taking a shower fully clothed?

No…….I think I’ll stick with the real stuff. But you folks have fun with it.

Starting at 7:15 is precisely why Picard is my favorite captain.

I certainly won’t miss the launch of synthehol; what you don’t see, you don’t miss!! ;)


glad to hear your dad kept it real

#37 Blake Powers

AMEN to that my friend!!!! I couldn’t have said it better.

Im with Scotty. I want the real thing and not an imitation. Ok. Chris. What do you Drink.

Great choice to go with the Scotty clips to illustrate synthehol.

It would appear that the Imperial College of London has been infiltrated by aliens! (As I recall from novels, Synthehol was invented (and marketed) by Ferengis.)

End of the day, synthehol is another if those nauseating inventions from TNG that’s supposed to make the characters look oh-so-smug and superior to us (then) 20th Century types. At least Kirk and co knew how to party! What next? Ersatz coffee? Hitler would be proud!

Aaaaand there’s Godwin’s Law. Game over.

HItler drank decaf! Nazis wore polyester and ate yolkless eggs! News at 11. ; )

I loved Relics and seeing old Scotty again. I remember seeing a clip of Jimmy Doohan (perhaps on one of the DVDs) near the end and it was so sad to see the delitirous health effects. God, love you Jimmy, a Scotch toast from one Jimmy MacTavish in your honor.

@5, Tanner Waterbury wrote:

“Oh great, instead of becoming addicted to alcohol, they will make a person become addicted to PAINKILLERS, what a GREAT substitute!”

One problem: Valium (and other similar drugs) are not really painkillers. Speaking very loosely, it’s a sedative:

“Painkiller” is a broad term, but judging by your statement, you are almost certainly using painkiller as a stand in for opioids and related drugs (unless you are suggesting that addiction to aspirin, for example, is a health threat). Opioid painkillers are quite different from valium and its relatives, certainly more dangerous, and it would make absolutely no sense to use them as a “substitute” for alcohol.

Not in this century please…. I still enjoy the real thing.

I *hated* how they portray Scotty as a bumbling old fool in this episode.
Because, it proves that “Star Trek: TNG” was not living up to what it was tooting at the time.

According to the original premises of the show, by the 23rd-24th century, humanity would’ve overcome all prejudice. This means that, if you’re running around the galaxy and you’re in the military, and you somehow resurrect a legendary starfleet officer from a past century, the treatment he would’ve gotten would’ve been nothing but sparkling.

In this episode, the treatment that Starfleet dishes out to officers with such exemplary records is downright deplorable. To add insult to injury, they just give him a shuttle and let him leave galloping around the Cosmos? Without the stanard tributes and benefits that he would’ve been entitled to?

Please. Gimme a break. Sorry, I’m off of my soapbox.

@Zorty: To expect anybody to know who he was hundred of years later is bogus in the extreme: there have been other Starfleet personnel who have been more famous than Scott in all of that time, and those people would have been more well-known, not Scott. What Scott got was quite sufficient. And besides, he wanted to fly off in a shuttle to see the rest of the galaxy anyway. You just hate TNG because it’s now cool to do so.