A breathing device originally developed to treat people with carbon monoxide poisoning, and modified to treat serious alcohol poisoning, has been found to reduce the recovery time of excessive alcohol consumption.

The device works by supplying carbon dioxide through a face mask whilst a person breathes into it as though hyperventilating.  Normally, such rapid breathing would cause symptoms such as light-headedness and fainting through the loss of carbon dioxide, but the machine prevents this through supplying the gas to replace that which is lost. 

The act of continuous, rapid, ‘hard’ breathing also eliminates alcohol from the blood, meaning it leaves the body more quickly than it would normally.

Speaking about the device to the BBC, Dr Jospeh Fisher from the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, who lead the study, said: “obviously we would not recommend drinking too much, but as a rule of thumb this machine halves the amount of alcohol in someone’s system within 45 minutes, instead of the two to three hours it usually takes on average.”

Dr Fisher acknowledged the potential danger of its social misuse, but stressed the machine’s intended purpose was to save people from severe alcohol poisoning.  

In the UK, 7,551 deaths directly related to alcohol were recorded in 2018 (the latest available data) according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Globally, 3 million people a year die from ‘harmful use of alcohol, representing 5.3% of all deaths’.

The news comes as leading UK alcohol charity, Alcohol Change UK launched Alcohol Awareness Week (16-22) November.

The charity is centering this year’s campaign on the link between alcohol consumption and its effects on mental health.

From a study commissioned by the charity earlier in the year, figures show that more than half of drinkers in the UK have drank alcohol to relieve mental health problems including stress, anxiety, low mood and sleep disturbances in the last six months.

Demand for AlphaBiolabs’ alcohol testing services is consistent with this trend, as it also increased to record levels since the pandemic began.

Legal cases involving child protection matters have surged since March this year, so too has the demand for alcohol testing for such cases from family law firms.

Similarly, results from the company’s workplace alcohol testing services have revealed a marked rise in the number of UK workers consuming drugs and alcohol in the periods of lockdown, since March.

AlphaBiolabs supplies the UK’s workplaces, family law courts and members of the public with a range of alcohol testing services. Call our Customer Services team to find out more, on: 0333 600 1300 or email:

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