snakeoil

Snake oil helps you Feel Better, it doesn’t affect your BAC

We’ve had a few readers contact us over the last week or so with news of a new, miraculous hangover cure being advertised on social media. While the quest to cure the common hangover is nothing new, this one is somewhat bizarrely being endorsed by former Newcastle Knights prop Willie Mason, who was fined $900 this year for driving under the influence, and had his licence suspended for six months.

The product, ‘Security Feel Better,’ advertises itself as ‘a non-alcoholic digestive drink that enables a better and faster assimilation of the food and drink you consume. The unique pear-flavoured formula harnesses the natural benefits of plants and has an effect on your digestion like nothing else.’

It could mean anything, but it probably means nothing. Quite apart from the dubious logic of buying a product endorsed by someone with a recent drink driving conviction, ‘Security Feel Better’ appears to fly in the face of current understandings of metabolic science. It may well help you ‘feel better’, but unless it also magically makes your liver more efficiently process alcohol out of your bloodstream, it won’t change your blood alcohol level.

That’s where the danger lies: while the product stops just short of suggesting it’ll help your body process alcohol more quickly, that’s a distinction many punters with somewhere important to be may be all too happy to pass over. The ramifications on road safety are chilling, and highlight the need for strong regulatory controls on just how alcohol-related products are allowed to market themselves, and where they’re allowed to be sold.

Or, in the words of New Zealand’s Automobile Association: if you’re going to drive, just don’t drink. Losing your licence is a very expensive way to discover that snake oil doesn’t work.