Scientists Treat Alcoholics with a Fake Bar and Colored Water

Scientists at the National Institute of Health are testing alcoholism cures with a pill, taken in a fake bar setting

Fake bars may sound odd, but it could be one more step on the road to treating alcoholism via medical science.

Scientists are testing a Pfizer drug that could block the alcoholic’s chemical urge to drink. To fully test the drug, scientists at the National Institutes of Health are setting up “fake bars,” in which study participants will be served colored water at a bar stool under dim lighting.

“The goal is to create almost a real-world environment, but to control it very strictly," lead researcher Dr. Lorenzo Leggio told the Associated Press.

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The “fake bar” will actually be part of a lab where the alcoholics will be hooked up to blood pressure monitors and forced to smell their favorite drink, creating the ultimate environment of temptation. Afterwards, their levels of ghrelin (receptors that are triggered after the consumption of alcohol or pleasurable foods), will be tested for responses. Scientists hypothesize that many alcoholics are tempted by the sight and smell of alcohol. If the Pfizer drug does work, then the alcoholic’s ghrelin levels should gradually become calmer, even when exposed to environments associated with drinking.