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Controversial Hangover Clinic Opens in Australia

Sydney’s new ‘Hangover Clinic’ promises to instantly take care of terrible hangovers through a “revolutionary treatment” that involves an IV drip. Depending on how bad their night was, customers are hooked to the drip for 30 to 45 minutes and are given saline infused with headache and anti-nausea medication, along with vitamins B and C. Antioxidants and oxygen are also included in treatment, priced between $140 and $200.

“Sometimes we just overdo it. Might be a BBQ at a mate’s place, or a drink with the girls, but since time began we’ve all been known to overindulge on the drinks, or our hectic schedules just run us down,” the clinic’s website states. “In as little as 30 minutes, we’ll have you off the couch feeling fresh and ready to tackle the day ahead, so you can feel like the best version of yourself.”

The clinic offers three types of ‘Hangover Remedies’.  ‘Jump Start’, the basic package, costs $140 and includes one liter of IV hydration, Vitamins B and C, and your choice of headache or anti-nausea medication. ‘Energise’ provides an extra jolt at $165, with the addition of oxygen treatment. And ‘Resurrection’ is for the truly hopeless cases – at $200 it includes an antioxidant boost along with the rest of the basic medication.

Interestingly, the clinic offers ‘Health & Fitness Booster’ IV services for “life hangovers” like jet lag, a cold or flu, and general exhaustion. They include the Jetlag Crusher (vitamins B and C), Cold Flu Hydration (vitamin C), and Sports Recovery (electrolyte restoration) – all priced at $160. You can book a package online, or have a friend do it for you through gift vouchers, if you’re too hammered to even use the computer. If you’re a regular drinker, it’s probably a good idea to get your hands on a few of those vouchers handy in advance.

According to the website, founder Max Petro came up with the idea for Hangover Clinic after spending years working as a ski instructor. He was always surprised how ski patrol teams turned up fresh for work after late nights involving heavy drinking. When he asked them about it, he was let in on their secret – IV fluids, oxygen, and painkillers.

“For years, doctors, nurses, paramedics, sports stars, and army personnel have used IV treatments to cure the effects of hangovers and dehydration,” the website states. “Now, for the first time in Sydney, everybody is able to access this amazing treatment, meaning no more wasted weekends or lost performance. Our unique IV hydration packages give you a speedy recovery from hangovers by rapidly restoring your fluid levels with the direct introduction of saline into your system.”

The company claims that people are reacting positively to the clinic, with responses like, “where have you been all my life?!?” But medical experts and government authorities do have their concerns about the clinic’s claims. According to Professor Kypros Kypri from the University of Newcastle, recent evidence shows that hangovers may not be caused by dehydration at all. Instead, they might be because of a toxic compound called acetaldehyde, produced by our own bodies while metabolising alcohol. “The evidence on it isn’t that good one way or the other,” he said. “It seems to be acetaldehyde, which is a byproduct of the metabolism of alcohol. Acetaldehyde is a carcinogen, that seems to be why people feel so dreadful – the hangover effect. So I would be very interested to know what they (the clinic) say is the basis for their claim of effectiveness.”

The New South Wales Labor Party is concerned that the concept could promote binge drinking. “I want New South Wales Health to make sure they’ve crossed every T and dotted every I, and to make sure that they (the company) are not acting irresponsibly” a party spokesman said. “They claim for about $200 they’ll hook you up onto an IV drip of saline, vitamins, and they say that within 30 to 40 minutes you’ll be feeling better. No one is against someone going out and having a few drinks. But this encourages irresponsible use of alcohol.” For now, the state government plans to monitor the Hangover Clinic and ensure that they follow NSW laws.

The clinic, however, assures that all their treatments are delivered by “fully trained and qualified medical practitioners” and that client safety is their “number one priority.” IV treatments have been offered as a solution to hangovers in other cities as well – like Hangover Heaven, a bus in Las Vegas that makes stops at major hotels to treat the after effects of binge drinking.

Photos: Hangover Clinic

Sources: Sydney Morning Herald, 3News

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