Scientists are in the process of developing a "stay sober" pill that limits the effects of alcohol on the brains.
In a lab experiment, mice given the drug did not even get tipsy, despite being fed enough alcohol to make them stumble and fall over.
The American and Australian scientists who carried out the research focused on the way alcohol affects glial cells, which make up 90 per cent of the brain.
They play a crucial role in the immune system, helping to fight infections such as meningitis. In the experiment, shutting off this immune response produced a remarkable effect - it stopped the mice who were given alcohol from getting drunk.
Not only were the animals' reflexes far better, they also found it much easier to balance and walk than animals whose brain immune cells were allowed to work normally.
"When a mouse gets drunk, it is quite similar to a human that's drunk. It can't work its motor co-ordination properly. If you stop these immune cells from working, the animals didn't get drunk," the Daily Mail quoted University of Adelaide researcher Mark Hutchinson as saying.
The study has been published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.