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If you know someone who has recently quit smoking or is trying to quit, you can share facts from this website with them: Above all, be sure to let that person know you’re proud of their decision to become smoke-free.

Did you know that mental illnesses are brain disorders? There are differences in the structure and the way the brain functions in people with a mental illness. Researchers are still trying to understand the exact causes of mental illnesses, but it’s most likely that a combination of biological, genetic, environmental, and social factors play a part.

Research shows that brain development continues throughout the teen years and into a person’s twenties. Alcohol can alter this development, possibly affecting both the brain’s structure and how well it processes information. In addition, drinking during the teen years could interfere with normal adolescent brain development and change the brain in ways that raise the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life.

Regular use of MDMA, sometimes called Molly, can result in memory loss.

Research shows that drivers who have used marijuana recently have slower reaction times, impaired judgment, and problems responding to signals and sounds. Learn more about the effects of different drugs here:

Some people take prescription stimulants—without a prescription of their own—thinking the drugs will help them do better on a test. But there's no clear evidence that this works at all. Some research suggests that stimulants may actually dull creative thinking, though more studies are needed.

Drinking alcohol is NOT a healthy way to cope with stress.

In the past year, 879,000 youth people aged 12 to 17 used smokeless tobacco (including chewing tobacco or snuff). Our health experts are online now—ask them what this does to your mouth!

Evidence shows that mental disorders often begin in a person's younger years:

Only about 1 out of 10 youth people ages 12 to 17 drank alcohol in the past month. So MOST—about 9 out of 10—did not drink alcohol.

Some people who use MDMA (Ecstasy) might feel so alert and "hyper" that they could keep dancing at a club for hours, losing their sense of time and dangerously raising their body temperature. However, others can experience anxiety, agitation, faintness, sweating, or chills.

Marijuana is linked to problems in school. Marijuana’s negative effects on attention, memory, and learning can last for days and sometimes weeks—especially if you smoke often. One major study suggests it can even lower your IQ (a measurement of how smart you are).

Research tells us that most teens who misuse prescription drugs get them from friends or relatives and, to a lesser degree, from their own prescriptions. Is this a problem at your school? Ask our scientists about Adderall® and other commonly misused prescription drugs, such as Ritalin®, Xanax®, and Vicodin®.

People who smoke hookahs may be at risk for some of the same diseases as those who smoke cigarettes. These include lung cancer, oral cancer, and stomach cancer.

A menthol cigarette is still a cigarette—complete with all the chemicals and addiction risk that you'll find with any other tobacco product. Flavoring isn’t going to make it any safer. In fact, research shows that menthol cigarettes may be more addictive than nonmenthol cigarettes, which could make quitting even harder.

A lot of big changes happen to your brain when you’re a teen. Learn more about these changes:

Only about 1 in 17 youth people ages 12 to 17 drank five or more drinks on one occasion in the past month. So MOST—16 out of 17 did not drink this way.

Ecstasy (X, Molly, or MDMA) changes the body in many ways. It can even interfere with the body's temperature regulation, which can lead to dangerous overheating, called hypothermia. This can lead to serious heart and kidney problems—or even death.

Compared with their peers who don’t smoke, students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school.

One dose of naloxone (Narcan®) can save a person dying from an opioid overdose.

Young people typically have a strong desire to experience new things, but experimenting with alcohol is not a good idea.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and cigarette smoking is responsible for nearly 90 percent of those deaths.

It’s normal to feel anxious or stressed sometimes. These feelings can help us deal with a tense situation, study harder for an exam, or keep focused on an important speech. But if your anxiety doesn’t go away or gets worse over time, it can make life harder in school or in relationships. Learn more:

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are often marketed as safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes. But we know very little yet about the health risks of using these devices.

People who use heroin regularly develop a tolerance to the drug. This means their "high" gets weaker and weaker, and they need more and more heroin to achieve the same effect, which is why so many people overdose.

Long-term marijuana users trying to quit can have withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, making it even harder to quit.

A 2016 survey found less than 1 percent of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders had used methamphetamine in the year prior to being surveyed. That means about 99 percent of students don’t use methamphetamine. Get more facts about methamphetamine, cocaine, and other stimulants here:

If you've been feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable for a long time, you might have depression. Girls are more likely than boys to have depression. Teens who are depressed may be moody, get into trouble at school, be negative or grouchy, or feel misunderstood. Learn more about depression:

You may think that using a hookah (water pipe) is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, but it still delivers the addictive drug nicotine to your body and is at least as toxic as cigarette smoking. In fact, research shows that people who use hookahs inhale 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke in a 1-hour hookah session than they would from a single cigarette.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a very common childhood disorder that can continue through the teen and adult years. With ADHD, you may have difficulty staying focused, paying attention, or controlling your behavior, and you may be really hyper. Learn more about ADHD here:

A study in 2016 showed the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) is high among teens. In the past month, about 6 percent of 8th graders, 11 percent of 10th graders, and 13 percent of 12th graders used e-cigs. Ask our scientists about e-cigs.

Heroin often contains toxic chemicals or additives that, when injected, can clog blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain, causing permanent damage to vital organs.

Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which further increases the lungs' exposure to chemicals in the smoke, resulting in irritated lungs.

Stimulants such as cocaine cause the body’s blood vessels to narrow, constricting blood flow, which forces the heart to work harder to pump blood through the body. The heart might work so hard that it temporarily loses its natural rhythm. This is why people can die suddenly from a heart attack after using cocaine.

Alcohol misuse contributes to more than 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions, most notably, alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis (loss of liver cells), various cancers, and injuries.

On average, every cigarette takes 11 minutes off of your life. People who smoke die at least 10 years earlier than those who don't.

Sixty-five percent of 15-year-olds report that they have never had a drink in their lives.

Last year, about 63 percent of 12th graders who used e-cigs thought they were inhaling flavoring alone, but it’s important to know that some products labeled "nicotine-free" may actually contain nicotine, an addictive chemical.

Drug use by any method can put people at risk for contracting HIV. Drug and alcohol intoxication affect the way people make decisions and can lead to unsafe sexual practices, which puts them at risk for getting HIV or spreading it to someone else.

Did you know that if you use marijuana regularly as a teen, your IQ level (a measurement of how smart you are) could actually drop as an adult—even if you stop using it? Read about it on the NIDA website:

The high from snorting cocaine is brief—from 5 to 30 minutes. So to stay high, a person has to take the drug again and again. This is why cocaine is sometimes used in binges—taken repeatedly within a short period, at dangerously higher doses each time.

If someone's pressuring you to do anything that’s not right or good for you, such as drinking alcohol, you have the right to say no.

Many young people, especially girls and young women, believe that smoking cigarettes can help them lose weight. But studies show that’s not true—young people who smoke aren't thinner than those who don’t.

About 623,000 young people ages 12 to 17 had an alcohol use disorder in 2015.

Sometimes called "synthetic marijuana," K2/Spice is marketed as an alternative to marijuana, but, in fact, it's a very different drug. In 2016, about 4 percent of seniors were using it, which is much lower than 11 percent reported 4 years ago in 2012.

Using any type of mind-altering drug can affect judgment and can put you at greater risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). To learn the link between drug use and HIV, check out

Research shows that about 9 percent of those who use marijuana become addicted, but this number increases to about 17 percent among those who start young. Those who use marijuana daily are also more likely to become addicted. Ask our scientists about marijuana and addiction.

Drug addiction is a complex illness characterized by intense, and, at times, overwhelming drug craving, drug seeking, and use that continues even despite devastating consequences. If you or someone you know has a problem with drugs, this page has step-by-step guides that can help:

Symptoms of alcohol overdose include confusion; difficulty staying conscious; vomiting; seizures; breathing trouble; slow heart rate; clammy skin; dulled responses, such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking); and extremely low body temperature and death.

Nicotine addiction can be very powerful. Three out of 4 teens who think they will stop smoking in a few years actually don’t. But did you know that nearly 9 out of 10 high school students don’t smoke? So even if it seems like everyone around you smokes, it’s important to recognize that smoking is actually not the norm.

An estimated 37,000 young people ages 12 to 17 received treatment for an alcohol problem in a specialized facility in 2015.

Research shows that brain development continues into a person’s twenties. Alcohol and drugs can affect this development and contribute to a range of problems.

Inhalants prevent oxygen from reaching the brain, which can damage brain cells.

A common myth is that marijuana is harmless. But research has shown that it affects learning and memory, which can affect your schoolwork. It can also affect coordination and judgment, which affects your ability to drive and play sports. Finally, marijuana can be addictive.

It takes time to recover from addiction—not only for the brain to readjust, but to make lifestyle changes to avoid drugs. Think of how hard it is for people trying to lose weight—they try different diets, exercise for a while, and lose a few pounds, only to gain them back until they can make lasting changes to keep the weight off. Same with quitting drugs—it may take several rounds of treatment before it sticks.

The NIDA’s 2016 Monitoring the Future survey showed that more than 9 percent of 8th graders, about 24 percent of 10th graders, and about 36 percent of 12th graders used marijuana at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Congratulations to all the other teens making healthy choices!

More than 41,000 people who don't smoke in the United States die every year from diseases caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.

More than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol problems, according to a 2012 study.

Contrary to common belief, drugs are chemicals. They invade the brain and interfere with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information.

Some common household products used as inhalants to get high can have permanent effects, including hearing loss, central nervous system or brain damage, bone marrow damage, and possibly death from heart failure or suffocation.

Studies have shown a connection between regular marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia, a very serious mental illness.

Counseling can help people who are unable to stop using drugs and teach them to change their behavior. There are medications that can be added to the treatment plan for some drugs (including tobacco, alcohol, heroin, or opioid pain relievers). Treatment varies for each person, depending on the type of drug(s) being used and the person’s specific situation. For a step-by-step guide on how to find the right treatment, check out:

More teens say they don't see the harm in taking Ecstasy or "bath salts" occasionally, which is a dangerous belief. It takes only one time for a drug to have harmful effects, including overdose.

If you know someone who's considering suicide, don't leave them alone. Try to get them to seek immediate help from their health practitioner or nearest hospital emergency room or urge them to call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Learn more about the warning signs here:

Teens who drink can suffer a range of consequences, such as injury, sexual assault, and even death, including dying in an alcohol-related car crash.

Want to learn more about the science of addiction? Check out our booklet Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction at

Long-term inhalant use results in nerve cells not being able to do their job, which can cause muscle spasms and tremors or even permanent difficulty with basic actions such as walking, bending, and talking.

Did you know that opioid pain relievers act on the same sites in the brain as heroin? This is one reason why they can be so dangerous when misused.

When you go college or start living on your own, you will experience a lot of changes in your life. There will be a lot of excitement as well as stress. It's important to continue to take care of yourself and not fall to peer pressure to do something bad for your health. Here are six tactful tips for resisting peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol:

Alcohol overdose is more likely to occur at a lower dose of alcohol if someone has taken another sedative or opioid drug including prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs in these classes.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.

Alcohol overdose occurs when there's so much alcohol in the blood that areas of the brain controlling basic life-support systems—such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature control—begin to shut down.

Repeated drug use can reset the brain’s pleasure meter so that, without the drug, you feel hopeless and sad. Eventually, everyday fun stuff like spending time with friends or playing with your dog doesn’t make you happy anymore.

Younger teens are more prone to experimenting with inhalants that seem like harmless, common products. A study in 2016 showed that about 4 percent of 8th graders, 2 percent of 10th graders, and 2 percent of 12th graders had used inhalants at least once in the past year.

The most commonly misused prescription drugs are opioids (such as the pain relievers OxyContin® and Vicodin®), central nervous system depressants (such as Xanax® or Valium®), and stimulants (such as Ritalin® and Adderall®).

If you're in high school and you're getting treatment for drug problems, it's important to continue treatment after high school, whether you're in college or in the workplace.

Companies try to get your money by marketing alluring e-cig flavorings, but many people don't even know what's in these flavorings that they're inhaling.

No matter what problems you’re dealing with, help is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You’ll be connected to a trained counselor. All calls are confidential and free.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include confusion; difficulty remaining conscious; vomiting; seizures; trouble with breathing; slow heart rate; clammy skin; dulled responses, such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking); and extremely low body temperature and death.

Have you seen the Drugs & Health Blog for teens? It has all of the latest information on drug and addiction science and news, and you can comment on the blog posts. Check it out at

Inhalants are among the first drugs that many preteens or teens use. In fact, they are one of the few types of substances that are used more by younger teens than older ones. Inhalant use, if continued, can become a real problem in adulthood.

Many people think that misusing prescription drugs is safer than using illicit drugs such as heroin because the manufacturing of prescription drugs is regulated, or because doctors prescribe them. But that doesn't mean these drugs are safe for someone other than the person with the prescription to use them.

People who use marijuana long term report being less satisfied with their lives, having memory and relationship problems, poor mental and physical health, lower salaries, and less career success.

Eating disorders often appear during the teen years. An eating disorder is an illness that causes the urge to eat extremely small amounts of food or to severely overeat beyond a person’s control. Severe distress or concern about body weight or shape may also signal an eating disorder. Learn more about eating disorders here:

If you suspect someone is experiencing an alcohol overdose, get medical help immediately. Cold showers, hot coffee, or walking will NOT reverse the effects of alcohol overdose and could actually make things worse.

Do you like online games? Try out these games and videos that explore what happens to the brain and body when a person uses drugs:

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Short-term effects of marijuana use include euphoria, distorted perceptions, memory impairment, and difficulty thinking and solving problems.

Teens misuse prescription drugs for a number of reasons, including to get high, to treat pain, or because they think it will help them with schoolwork. Explore what happens when teens misuse prescription drugs here:

People who use marijuana usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than people who smoke tobacco, which further increases the lungs' exposure to chemicals in the smoke, resulting in irritated lungs.

Although eating disorders are more common in girls, they affect boys too. Boys also have a distorted sense of body image. They may have muscle dysmorphia, a disorder marked by an extreme concern with becoming more muscular.

Research shows that people who start drinking before the age of 15 are much more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder at some point in their lives than people who don't begin drinking until past age 21.

Some people think becoming addicted to a drug is just a character flaw, but it’s not. The first time people use drugs, it’s usually a conscious decision. But once people become addicted, they're dealing with a difficult brain disease.

Research shows that about 1 in 6 of those who start marijuana use as a teen will become addicted.

Prescription drug misuse includes taking a medication (such as pain pills or ADHD drugs) without a prescription, in a way other than prescribed, or to get "high."

In 2016, a little more than 6 percent of high school seniors used the stimulant Adderall® (often prescribed for ADHD) for nonmedical reasons.

Watch nine eating disorders myths get busted:

Unfortunately, many young people don't fully recognize the negative effects alcohol can have on their health and behavior.

Although we know what happens to the brain when someone becomes addicted, we can’t predict how many times a person must use a drug before becoming addicted. A person's genes and the environment each play a role. We're all different and unpredictable, so any use is risky.

No, everyone is NOT doing it. Only about 23 percent of 12th graders say they have smoked marijuana in the past month.

Some teens think cough medicine that can be bought at a drug store without a prescription is safer to get high with than illegal drugs. But to get high, they need to take high doses, which can be dangerous.

About 1 in 4 college students reports academic consequences from drinking, including missing class, falling behind in their schoolwork, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall. High school students who drink can also experience these consequences.

People with mental illnesses aren't "crazy" or "psycho." Mental illnesses are serious but can be treated. They aren't something a person can just snap out of. The sooner you get help, the sooner you will get better. Learn how to get help here:

Drinking can lead young people to make poor decisions and engage in risky behavior, including drinking and driving, risky sexual activity (such as unprotected sex), and aggressive or violent behavior.

High levels of Ecstasy in the bloodstream can be life-threatening; they increase the risk of seizures and affect the heart's ability to maintain its normal rhythms.

Marijuana affects skills required for safe driving—alertness, concentration, coordination, and reaction time. So it’s not safe to drive high or to ride with someone who’s been smoking.

Stimulants such as Adderall® or Ritalin® are often prescribed for ADHD. When taken as a doctor prescribes, they are generally safe. But because prescription stimulants act on the same brain systems as cocaine, taking them to get "high" can put people at risk for negative health effects, including addiction and overdose.

Did you know that misuse of prescription pain relievers (such as Vicodin® and OxyContin®) among high school seniors has dropped in the past 5 years despite high opioid overdose rates among adults? Great job to all of the teens making healthier choices.