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

are you more tired in the morning if you smoke kush the night before

-Anonymous, Illinois

Hi you
It depends what else is going on in your life. But I can tell you that even if you feel good after using kush, you are shortchanging the health of your brain in the long run. B smarter!

-Ruben Baler

At what age do most people start abusing drugs?

-rnelson, Montana

Thanks, rnelson. Most people begin using drugs in their teens.

-Marsha Lopez

At what age is the most addictive age to do drugs?

-Adam , Illinois

Hello Adam: Excellent question. Most people who use drugs start during their teenage years. Scientists believe that the developing brain is more susceptible to the effects of drug use. .If you start using drugs while you are young---as a teen---you are more likely to get addicted. What is the science of addiction? See Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction:

-Aria Crump

Be completely real, have any of you guys smoked weed before?

-shmo, Illinois

Hmm, there are a lot of people in the room from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and beyond. I will ask the group and see who raises their hands....nope, no hands, LOL.Honestly, I am sure there are folks in this room who have, but marajuana is a whole lot stronger now and we do know alot more about its harm. I hope this is helpful to you.

-Dave Thomas

Besides actual drugs, what else can you get high off of?

-nyla-fvsu4h, Georgia

Hi, nyla-fvsu4h! Great question! Exercise is known to improve mood. So grab a friend and take a long walk! Or join a sports team. Being part of a group, like the group putting on your school play, can also make you happy. Or do whatever you enjoy!

-Emily Jones

besides its addictive properties, is nicotine that bad?

-JS , Illinois

Dear James - thank you for joining us! You are correct in that nicotine is very addictive. Nicotine is also toxic and its ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through the skin or eyes can result in vomiting, nausea, and eye irritation. Annual e-cigarette calls to poison centers increased from 238 in 2011 to 3,692 in 2014 – an increase of greater than 1400 percent, and this is related to the increase in e-cigarette use, which contains nicotine. Quick facts about tobacco, nicotine and e-cigarettes:

-Dave Thomas

Between cigars and cigarettes which is more dangerous?


Hey there BTR 0077 - Both cigarettes and cigars burn tobacco, and the smoke is inhaled. Even though some people who smoke cigars say they are safer because the smoke only goes into their mouths and is not inhaled to their lungs, the smoke from cigars is just as harmful as cigarette smoke. The thousands of chemicals from cigarette or cigar smoke are absorbed into the body and can cause nicotine addiction, lung disease, heart disease, or have other harmful effects throughout the body. For more info:

-Kevin Walton

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

Are there alternatives for drugs?

-gabrielam, District of Columbia

Hey gabrielam! I will assume that your question is: are there altenatives to the use of drugs. And yes, there are alternatives. Drugs hijack the brain to produce a lot of dopamine. Dopamine is thought to be the brain chemical responsible for the rewarding properties of a drug. But dopamine is also made when you do other things that you really like to do, like exercise and playing sports, playing music, or even reading. So do something that you really like to do to get a dopaimine reward.

-Roger Little

are there any healthy vapes

-JS , Illinois

Hi there James S.!

There is no safe or healthy tobacco product, especially for teens. Vapes can deliver cancer-causing chemicals into your lungs, and most vapes contain nicotine. Even if a label says “nicotine-free,” that label might not be accurate because the ingredients in every vape product haven't been tested and reviewed yet.

Learn about all things vaping by checking out

-Ruben Baler

Are there any long term effects of psychedelic/hallucinogenic drugs such as acid, molly, or shrooms.

-Jarvis, Illinois

Hi Jarvis -- Thanks for the good question. There aren't a lot of studies on the long-term affects of hallucinogens. Most of what's been studied is the effects of short-term use; i.e., occasional use and not over a long period of time. The few studies of chronic (long-term) use suggest that they may trigger long-term mental health problems in some people.

-Steve Gust

Are there any mental illnesses associated with drug and alcohol abuse?

-princesspeach, Illinois

Yes. People who are depressed or anxious are more likely to abuse alcohol. And people who abuse alcohol often become more depressed and anxious.

-George Koob

Are there any negative effects to smoking marijuana?

-drugsaren'tgood, Maryland

There certainly are negative effects to smoking marijuana. While you're intoxicated, marijuana can cause anxiety, depression, and cognitive and memory problems. Smoking anything can exacerbate asthma in the short term and cause lots of breathing problems and lung diseases in the long term. Some people who use marijuana regularly can become addicted to it. Marijuana use, when you're young, affects how your brain develops and may raise the risk for brain disorders like schizophrenia. So if I were you, I'd avoid it... just sayin'.

-Joshua Gordon

Are there any neurological consequences when you use drugs or drink alcohol?


Hi mafed3 - thanks for joining the Chat. Virtually, every part of your body is affected by drugs and alcohol! Brain, heart, liver, lungs, or all of the above, depending on the drug. Most importantly, drugs severely affect your brain, and some can go as far as to induce coma or death. Alcohol interferes with the brain's communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain lworks. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination. Here is a great resource:

-Heather Kimmel

Are there any non-generic (and perhaps even used commonly in areas such as medicine) yet still harmful, drugs that people should know about?


Hi Astaroth!
Good question!! Just because a drug is a named-brand prescription does not mean it is safe. A prime example is opioids. Opioids can be safe and effective treatments from pain when prescribed by a clinician and used with caution and as directed. BUT people also misuse prescrition opioids, and they can become addicted, overdose and die.

-Dave Thomas

Are there any side effects of acid, what are they?

-JR, California

Thanks for your question, Jaime Rich. LSD is one of the most powerful mood changing hallucinogenic drugs. Like other hallucinogens, it can alter perception and cause users to experience sensations (sights, sounds, etc) that are real. Users may also experience intensified feelings, anxiety, nausea, and distorted perception of time. LSD also produces tolerance, meaning that users need to take more and more of the drug to get the same effect.

-Aaron White

Are there currently any FREE vaping cessation programs for schools?

-mpapa, New Jersey

Hi mpapa. Thanks for your question. Vaping, and using ecigs, can expose teens to the same levels of nicotine that comes from cigarettes. Many teens have reported becoming addicted to ecigs and this is a real concern. While there are not cessation programs that focus on quitting ecigs, many of the programs that have been successful for cigarettes may work for ecigs. Check out some options here: and

-Kevin Walton

Are there damaging effects to long term marijuana use?

-Lan507756, Illinois

Absolutely! Long-term use of marijuana can result in addiction and increases the risk of psychosis in some individuals. Research also shows that marijuana can harm the developing teen brain. Consistent use of marijuana can also result in poor school performance, use of other drugs, decreased satisfaction with life, increased risk of accidents, and severe nausea and vomiting.

-Michele Rankin

Are there different effects between Crystal meth and Plain Meth

-CK, New Hampshire

Hi Cameron -- The effects are similar and equally dangerous. Both of them can produce anxiety, confusion, insomnia (trouble sleeping), mood problems, violent behavior, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, weight loss, severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), and intense itching leading to skin sores from scratching -- just to name the most common effects. Here's more information:

-Anto Bonci