Alcoholism is a disease which not only has grim social consequences for sufferers, but also costs them and their employers a great deal of money.
Until recently, treatment has consisted largely of professional counselling and sheer will power, backed up by crude drugs which work by making sufferers physically sick if they have a drink. Enter Nalorex from Du Pont Pharmaceuticals.
Alcoholics who use Nalorex are free to drink as much as they like, but there's not much point - they won't actually get drunk. The drug's active ingredient, naltrexone, blocks the chemical pathways which produce the feeling of intoxication, reducing the craving for drink and theoretically making it easier for alcoholics to wean themselves off the bottle. Doctors are already prescribing Nalorex to alcoholics in the UK, but questions from some medical circles concerning its effectiveness have somewhat dampened expectations.