NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A cold shower, a cup of coffee, a walk around the block — none can actually help you sober someone up.
But now new products suggest they can do just that — and quickly.
As CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported, a billboard on the New Jersey Turnpike is hard to miss. It reads: “Never drink and drive. Have a Sober in 5. Sober up immediately.”
To date, experts say nothing has been proven to sober someone up on the spot.
“There is no magic wand to sober up quickly,” said Dr. Alexandra Sowa, an internist and clinical instructor at Weill Cornell Medical College. “You really just need to give your body time.”
But ads for Sober in 5 and similar products seem to suggest otherwise.
Sober in 5 is the brain child of Peter Mitlo’s Scotch Plains, New Jersey, company.
“It hydrates you,” Mitlo said. “For that reason, it helps you sober up.”
Added Rocky Boggs, the product’s spokesman: “The active ingredient is DHM, which helps to metabolize alcohol and helps you flush out the liver.”
DHM, or dihydromyricetin, is a Chinese herb that’s been shown to slow the intoxication of rats in studies conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles.
But Sowa said right now there’s no substantial evidence DHM can actually help people sober up any faster.
“You would need large, clinical, well-controlled studies that would be able to be replicated before you could ever make a claim like this,” she said.
Of more concern, says Gloria Anderson with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the billboard on the turnpike may lead some to think they can get behind the wheel of a car.
“I think a product that suggests it can get eliminate somebody’s buzz is giving a false sense of security to people,” she said.
Debbie Streiter couldn’t agree more.
“I’m furious,” she said.
Streiter lost both her children — Ashley, 20, and Billy, 23 — to a drunken driver. She doesn’t want any other family to suffer in the same way.
“Agonizing pain that I’m in every day, every minute,” she said.
But Mitlo says that’s not his company’s intention.
“That’s the first thing on the label: ‘Never drink and drive,'” he said.
Mitlo said his product is meant to help ease hangovers and doesn’t impact blood alcohol levels.
Because it’s considered a supplement, and not a drug, the company is not required to conduct clinical trials.