NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
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Transcript from Chat Day 2010

If you used a screenname that looked like a real name, it has been removed and replaced with either initials or first name and last initial.
1499 questions found.

shell McCreary Academy, Kentucky:

if i smoked pot when i was 12 and i smoked it till i was like 14 how bad has it effected my brain

Nicolette Borek

You'd need some fancy brain imaging equipment and testing to know for certain. Researchers are looking exactly at this question - the effects of marijuana use on the developing brain and have found effects on learning, memory, and attention. The key at this point is not to continue to use, take excellent care of yourself (sleep! exercise! have good supportive friends! eat healthy!). For more info check out

JoeS Mainland Regional High School, New Jersey:

What percent of people relapse from drugs?

starprepacademy STAR Prep Academy, California:

Can you get high off of any prescription or over-the-counter drug?

Cindy Miner

No you can't get high off of just any prescription or over-the-counter drugs. For example, people don't get high from antibiotics. Only drugs that activate specific circuits in the brain will make you high. If you want to learn more about how drugs work in the brain to produce their euphoric effects check out our website,

nidachat Kingswood Regional Middle School, New Hampshire:

what should you do if one of your friends does drugs?

Lori Ducharme

When someone has a drug problem, it's not always easy to know what to do. If your friend is using drugs, encourage them to talk to a parent or another trusted adult such as a favorite teacher or a school guidance counselor. If they don't feel comfortable doing that, they can use anonymous resources, such as SAMHSA's crisis line (1-800-273-TALK) -- they help people with lots of different problems. Or if they're ready to think about treatment, your friend can check SAMHSA's Treatment Facility Locator for programs in your area ( -- there are programs out there just for adolescents. You can also contact these resources yourself and get advice on how to help your friend.Since you've asked this question, you probably already know that right now it's really important to be a good friend -- that means finding ways to offer advice without being judgmental, showing support by listening, and finding ways to offer help when they're ready to receive it. Thanks for your question. I hope this helps.

cbackus13 Middlebury Union High, Vermont:

How does smoking affect your health?

mulliganc Wantagh Middle School, New York:

hhheeeyyy david tomas do you like your job

David Thomas

hey, it is me! Yes, I do, but chat day has worn me out!!! And this is my last answer!

woahhhhhh New Egypt High, New Jersey:

is nicotine addictive?

Carol Krause

Absolutely. Yes. Completely.

tone7500 Faison Intermediste, Pennsylvania:

wat is marijuana

Carol Krause

Check out the marijuana section on,

taylor.l New Egypt High, New Jersey:

What is a significant myth about drugs that teens believe are true?

Carol Krause

The biggest myth has to do with prescription drugs. Many teens think they must be safe for everyone if they are prescribed by a doctor. In fact, they are only safe when taken as directed by the doctor. It is not safe to take someone else's prescription drugs. Did you know that in 2006, prescription pain medications, like Vicodin, were involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine COMBINED? For more facts about drugs, read NIDA’s new booklet made for teens, Drugs: Shatter the Myths. You can find it (and even order it for free) at

warda Wantagh Middle School, New York:

Can drugs lead to diseases or death?

David Thomas

absolutely. Go to to learn more...

scooby Middlebury Union High, Vermont:

What kind of medical conditions do you have to hava to get a perscription to a drug?

David Thomas

In terms of drugs with abuse potential, prescription opioids tend to be given for pain. Otherwise, there are a lot of drugs for a lot of medical conditions... For more information on prescription drugs, see

nugget#27300 Faison Intermediste, Pennsylvania:

why do people smoke?

Lori Ducharme

You know, there's a variety of reasons why people start smoking and continue smoking. Want a great read? Check out this link to NIDA's website just for teens. Sara Bellum's blog has a great entry all about smoking and the effects of nicotine. Hope this helps!

sexycani101 Middlebury Union High, Vermont:

how much drugs can your body handle?

David Thomas

Hard to say for any individual. If, for example, you have a heart condition, a small dose of a drug that affects heart function can produce really bad effect. You just never know for sure. Its better to stay away from drugs that aren't prescribed for you by your doctor!For more info, see

201440502@pjphs Pope John Paul II, Pennsylvania:

Why do they make pain killers so strong if they know people can accidentally die from them?

David Thomas

Lot's of the overdoses of pain killers are from when people crush and snort the pills This gives them an immediate dose that is much larger that if one swallows the pills. Plus, some of the larger dose pills are for people that have been taking them for a long time by prescription and are tolerant to the drug effects, thus need bigger doses for pain relief. If someone get a hold of one of these high dose pills that is not pain or tolerant to the drug effects, and snorts it, they can get a huge dose that their body cannot handle... plop, they are dead. For more info on pain killers see

babels Wantagh Middle School, New York:

what does drinking do to you?

Aaron White

Research tells us that drinking lots of alcohol during the teenage years can affect your brain. It can make an area of the brain called the frontal lobes smaller. The frontal lobes help us make decisions, think about things, and pay attention. Teenagers who drink a lot have problems with these things. Alcohol also can shrink the hippocampus, the area of the brain area that helps us learn and remember. Teenagers who drink a lot also have trouble with learning. We do not know yet whether these problems go away if the teenager stops drinking. Drinking heavily over a long period of time can contribute to problems with your liver, pancreas, and heart, can impact your immune system, and can increase your risk for certain types of cancer. For more information on how alcohol can impact your help, check out: