These questions were answered by more than 50 individual scientists and science writers with expertise in addiction. To get as many answered as possible, responses were written quickly based on the personal background and knowledge of each expert. Please note that there was not a secondary review or proofreading of each fact, and if readers have questions or comments about any response, they can ask further questions.

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About how long does a Cocaine high last?

-Dixon, South Carolina

Thanks for your question, Dixon! Cocaine's effects appear almost immediately and disappear within a few minutes to an hour. How long the effects last and how intense they are depend on the method of use. Injecting or smoking cocaine produces a quicker and stronger but shorter-lasting high than snorting. The high from snorting cocaine may last 15 to 30 minutes. The high from smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes. Even though that sounds like a short amount of time, cocaine use is very dangerous. Be smart and don't start. Get more info at:

-Mary Kautz

. How come teens and kids have so much access to vaping, drugs, and smoking?

-Jonny, Illinois

Good morning Jonny! Thanks for the great question. As you know, there are restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes to kids and teens, and most "drugs" are illegal. Yes, even with restrictions there is access, but most kids and teens are not vaping, smoking and using drugs. Access can occur thorugh a variety of methods -- such as sales to underage youth, or through the Internet. But, also, social media can make it seem like there is an increased pressure to use. It's important to know the facts about substances, both in terms of use, and in terms of the effects on health. Here are some resources for you.
Here is a great infographic on teens and drug use:
Here are the latest statistics on drug use for Americans age 12 and older:

-Belinda Sims

a long time ago a kid tried to get me to vape but I said no why do you think they try to get others to vape and get addicted

-Cassie, Illinois

Hi Cassie,

It's often very difficult to say "no," especially to friends, so we commend you for resisting to peer pressure!
People use drugs for lots of different reasons, such as peer pressure, boredom, rebellion, curiosity, and so on. People can know drugs are bad for them, but they may still choose to take the risk (and even ask others to join them), while others may not be aware of all the risk. Then, once they're hooked, it can be very difficult to stop. Check out one of NIDA's Drug and Health Blog posts about why teens take drugs here:

Hope this helps!

-Jinhee Lee

A lot of kids use vapor devices, and the school seems unable to put and end to it. What would be the most effective way to prevent the continued use of these devices within our schools?

-507778, Illinois

I have heard of some vaping prevention programs being piloted in schools but do not know the results yet. None-the-less creating a drug-free cultural norm is an important protective factor.

-Bethany Deeds

About how much chocolate would I need to eat before becoming addicted to caffeine?

-HyperSniper, North Carolina

Hi Hypersniper
One cannot become addicted to caffeine. People could become dependent to it, if you drink regularly and find it difficult to quit without suffering withdrawal effects. You can eat as much chocolate as you want, it will not make you dependent on caffeine.

-Roger Sorensen

Acid is an illegal drug in my state so why are so many people easily getting it?

-kirsten, Oregon

Hi Kirsten-- Not sure why acid is so readily available where you live. Beware that acid, or D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is one of the most powerful mood-changing chemicals. They belong to a class of drugs called Hallucinogens that alter perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions).
For more on hallucinogens:
Here's information that can be helpful when someone lives in an enviroinment with lots of drugs around:

-Heather Kimmel

ACID: most important experience of my life. opened my eyes. Thoughts?

-Punisher, Illinois

Hi there Punisher. So it sounds like you be reporting a spiritual experience? People have used hallucinogens for centuries ---mostly for religious rituals.
I guess I would share a " Buyer Beware" disclaimer with you. Acid, or D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is one of the most powerful mood-changing chemicals. It belongs to a class of drugs called hallucinogens that alter perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions). A person's response to these distortions is unpredictable, and someone who has one type of experience one time may have a very different type of experience another time.
Little is known about the long-term effects of hallucinogens. Speech problems, memory loss weight loss, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts have all been reported.
Is there some way you can connect to the universe without risking your health? Take care of yourself.
For more on hallucinogens:

-Tisha Wiley

Any positive outcomes in smoking marijuana?

-ram508261, Illinois

Smoking anything isn't a good idea for your lungs, but people certainly report positive feelings when they do use it (which is why they keep using marijuana even with its risks). So it kind of depends on your circumstance--if you're young, you're putting your brain at risk; if people in your family have mental health problems (especially psychosis); its also really risky; if you're pregnant, you may be putting the fetus at risk.. I work at NIDA, so we tend to worry about the downsides of drug use, but we do also support research to try to find out if there are health benefits to marijuana or its components, for example, in treating pain.

-Susan Weiss

Aprox, how many elders consume drugs except tobacco and alcohol, what is the percentage?


Hi pip! In 2017, 19.3% of people in the US age 18 or older used illegal drugs.

-Emily Einstein

Are Abortion drugs addictive/ Harmful in anyway?

-IO, Florida

They are not addictive and not usually harmful if used as directed. Probably best to consult a medical professional before use.

-Kristen Huntley



Hi there. We tend to think of drugs as causing harm. All drugs can cause harm if you are taking them in a way that is not advised by your doctor. To read about drugs and your body see:, as well as We hope this is helpful!

-Jacqueline Lloyd

are all drugs made in America or are drugs imported from other countries?

-abby, Maryland

Hey Abby- Illegal drugs sold in the US very frequently come from other countries. The DEA is the part of our government that reports on drug trafficking. Their 2018 report is here.

-Emily Einstein

Are all substances originally from the US, or are some transported from other countries?

-Hun, Maryland

This is a good question Hun,
Many drugs come from other countries outside of the U.S., right now synthetic opioids which are a major cause of opioid overdose deaths in some parts of the United States are from China or South America. Regardless of where they come from they are dangerous as they can cause addiction, toxicity, and compound mental health problems.

-Roger Sorensen

Are bath salts made in a bathtub?

-Superdood, Illinois

No, not in a bathtub. These drugs are called bath salts because they often come in large crystal nuggets similar to crystals that can be added to the water when you take a bath. Criminals call them "bath salts" to keep from being accused of distributing illegal drugs. I have to say, though, "bath salts" are usually made in conditions a lot dirtier than your bathtub and can include many types of contaminants, some of which can be highly toxic.

-Steve Grant

are boys more likely to do drugs than girls

-tyler, New Hampshire

Thanks tyler. It depends on the drug and the age group. In 2017, about the same percentage of teen boys and girls used tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and pain relievers in the past month. Use of tranquilizers were reported by slightly more girls than boys (5.5% vs. 3.7%). For more information, go to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

-Marsha Lopez

are cheerios a gateway drug to cough medicine? sorry to waste your time but I'm curious

-cheezit, Oregon

Hi cheezit
Not a problem.
regular cheerios are not a gateway drug to cough medicine.

-Steve Gust

are cigars and cigerettes the same thing

-NOR5K1, Illinois

for all practical purposes, yes

-Steve Grant

Are consuming edibles less harmful than smoking marijuana?

-Lebron, Illinois

Hi Lebron
Although there might be some perceptions in the community that eating cannabis can't be bad for you. Cannabis effects are the same on the brain regardless of route of administration. In fact, this false comfort may be misleading since edibles are sometime high potency formulations and the effect may not appear immediately, leading to someone eating more and experiencing a delayed, yet massive effect due to the quantity.
However, smoking marijuana has the additional harms of combustion. Effects of smoked marijuana is worsened if combined with tobacco (i.e. chipping) due to the harmful effects of tobacco.
Great question!

-Geetha Subramaniam

Are dab pens worse than blunts or joints or better

-onfoenem, Illinois

Hi, onfoenem. A concern about dab pens is that it's very hard to determine how much you have taken compared to smoking a joint. The potency (strength) of marijuana is increasing a lot, which means that it's easy for a person to take in way more than they intended.

-Steve Gust

are drugs that are illegal in the US also illegal in other counrties

-JS, Oregon

Hi jstehle15. Different countries have different laws so not all drugs that are illegal in the U.S. are illegal elsewhere and vice versa.

-Tisha Wiley

are edibles better for you than smoking weed?

-chamness_a, Oregon

Hi Chamness_a,

When marijuana is smoked, THC and other chemicals in the plant pass from the lungs into the bloodstream, which rapidly carries them throughout the body to the brain. You can begin to experience effects almost immediately. If marijuana is consumed in foods or beverages, these effects are somewhat delayed—usually appearing after 30 minutes to 1 hour—because the drug must first pass through the digestive system. Eating or drinking marijuana delivers significantly less THC into the bloodstream than smoking an equivalent amount of the plant. Because of the delayed effects, people sometimes consume more THC than they intend to. Edibles take longer to digest and produce a high. Therefore, people may consume more to feel the effects faster, leading to dangerous results. While a psychotic reaction can occur following any method of use, emergency room responders have seen an increasing number of cases involving marijuana edibles.

-Jinhee Lee

are edibles good for you?

-TY, New Mexico

Hi -- Edibles are not good for you. One problem with edibles is that it's very hard if not impossible to know exactly how much marijuana you're getting, so it's very easy to consume too much. The labels on many edibles are not accurate. Learn more here:

-Steve Gust

ARE electronic and clove cigarettes less additive than regular cigarette smoke

-Angela-FVSU4H, Georgia

Hi, Angela-FVSU4H! Electronic cigarettes and "regular" combustable cigarettes contain nicotine, so both of these are potentially addictive. Clove cigarettes are actually regular cigarettes with clove flavoring. Studies show that nicotine acts on brain reward pathways—the brain circuitry that regulates feelings of pleasure. Nicotine increases levels of dopamine in these reward circuits. If you use nicotine for a long time, you may become addicted to it. When this happens, you will continue to seek out sources of nicotine even though you know it's harmful. You can experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop using nicotine. It is not possible to predict how many times a person must use a drug before becoming addicted. A person's genes and the environment each play a role. The bottom line is that we're all different and unpredictable, so any drug use is risky. For more information about nicotine, see:

-Heather Kimmel

are GAMERS more likley to do drugs?

-fee_e, Oregon

Good question! A scientist who wondered the same thing found that teenagers playing video games for 1-5 hours a week had lower rates of drug use than nongamers, but those who played at least 30 h per week had higher rates of drug use.

-Emily Einstein

Are hallucionogens healthy for you, to an extent? (Also, how do you see questions you've already sent, and how do you know they've been answered? Thanks!)

-=Lunarx5x=, Illinois

Hey =Lunarx5x=! You may have heard that there is research being done to determine whether certain hallucinogens can be used as a medicine to treat mental illness. However, there are many negative consequences of using hallucinogens. Hallocinogens cause hallucinations or sensations and images that appear to be real although they are not. They can also cause sleep problems, panic and paranoia, speech problems, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Better to stay away from using hallocinogens! All the questions that we answer will be posted on the web in a couple of weeks. If you go to and look under your name, you'll find your answer as well as all the others. Thanks for sending your question.

-Kristen Huntley

Are steroids considered a drugs, can they kill you?

-Mohammad, Illinois

Hello Mohammad.
Anabolic steroids are indeed considered drugs, and even though they have legitimate medical uses, some people misuse them long term for various purposes, typically to enhance their performance, seeking more stamina in the gym, pumping more iron, or shortening their recovery time between training sessions. But they do have serious negative effects. anabolic steroids can cause profound hormonal changes, mood changes, uncontrolled rage, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. So, yes, they can kill you.
B smart. B safe.

-Ruben Baler

are sucide drugs are very dangerous ?

-Demerius-FVSU4H, Georgia


-George Koob

are the chemical's in Juuls just as addictive as weed

-m, Maryland

Thank you for writing in, m! It's difficult to say whether the chemicals in Juul are more or less addictive than those found in marijuana. E-cigarettes are the most common way young adults in the United States use tobacco which contains nicotine. Nicotine is very addictive, and evidence shows that using e-cigarettes may lead young people to try other tobacco products, including cigarettes. Teens may be more sensitive to the effects of nicotine and more likely to become addicted to cigarettes. In addiiton, it is not possible to predict how many times a person must use a drug before becoming addicted. A person's genes and the environment each play a role. The bottom line is that we're all different and unpredictable, so any drug use is risky.

-Heather Kimmel

Are the effects of hookah any better or worse than cigarettes?

-I am Spartacus, Missouri

Hello I am Spartacus. Hookah burns tobacco, the same as cigarettes. Many people think that because the smoke goes through water first, it is safer. But studies have shown that the effects of hookah can actually be worse. The water cools the smoke, which allows the user to inhale more smoke deeper, exposing them to more of the toxins. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke, and teens are especially sensitive to the addictive effects of nicotine, especially because their brains are still developing. Click here for more info:

-Kevin Walton

are the side affects from using illegal steroids the same from person to person ?

-Demerius-FVSU4H, Georgia

Someties athletes ask us this question in hopes they can get bigger or stronger from using steroids. The answer is, different people have different results. The side effects can vary from person to person, too, but common ones include high blood pressure, enlarged heart, heart attack or stroke, kidney problems, and severe acne; for males, infertility, developing breasts, and increased risk of prostate cancer; and for females, a deepening voice, growth of facial hair, and male pattern baldness, among others.

You can learn more about anabolic steroids here:

-Meyer Glantz