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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Are there some circumstances where somebody can be immune or somewhat immune to a drug in a way they don't get high or as high as others would if they were using that drug?

-CC, New Hampshire

Great question! Lots of things can cause a person to react faster or slower to drugs. For example alcohol often "hits" lighter people faster than heavier people because it takes more alcohol to get the same effect. Everyone's body metabolizes (breaks down) drugs at different rates too. So if your body breaks down a drug slower than someone else, you might react to the drug more quickly. Whether or not you are a man or woman can also lead to differences in reaction to drugs because of differences in weight and muscle mass.

-John Satterlee

Are there specific areas in the U.S where drug use is noticably higher or lower.

-Liam, Maryland

Good question Liam! Yes, the use of certain drugs is higher in some areas of the country than others. For example, the opioid epidemic has had a particularly negative impact on northeastern United States, the central Appalachian region, and the Southwest. West Virgina, New Hampshire, and Ohio are the states with the highest level of opioid-related overdose deaths. We have a great map that shows the problem areas state by state at . But even one death is too many.

-Marsha Lopez

Are vapes with 0 nicotine juice still dangerous??

-Ye'07, Illinois

Hey Ye! Vapes haven't been around long enough for us to be sure how dangerous they are- even without nicotine, vaping can expose your lungs to harmful substances. Also, the most popular vapes aren't available without nicotine, so people who think they're vaping just flavoring may be wrong! Check out this link for more info on vaping:

-Emily Einstein

Are video games as addictive as drugs? eeee

-LY , New Hampshire

Hi Landon
we don't have all the research we'd like to answer your question, but some video games appear to be quite addictive and trigger compulsive behaviors that are similar to those seen with addictive drugs. If you think you are in trouble, seek professional help before it gets out of hand.
Best of luck to you.

-Ruben Baler

Are video games more addictive than drugs

-KL, Montana

Not typically, not. But some games can be quite addcitive; it depends on the circumstances.
B smart and B healthy

-Dave Thomas

Are video games more addictive than drugs?


Hola Cacho
great question.
We are only beginning to study the addictive properties of video games and other online activities. But I would venture that, for some people, video games could be as addictive as drugs of abuse.
B smart and protect your brain. It's the only one you have, make it last.
best of luck 2 u

-Ruben Baler

Are video games more addictive than drugs?

-Student, Illinois

Hmmm, interesting question. My guess is no, but I don't know of any studies making this comparision.

-Dave Thomas

are videogames a type of drug

-el chapo,

Hi el chapo!,
Nope, videogames are not drugs. BUT addiction is defined as "compulsive use despite harm" and some people spend WAY too much time playing video games, so in a sense, one can become addicted to these games. But again, its a game and not a drug.

-Dave Thomas

are videos games considered a drug and or tv

-unknown...., California

Videogames or TV are not considered drugs, but there is research showing that they can also be addictive. Other things, like gambling, that are not drugs, can also be addictive.

-Carlos Blanco

are vitamins considered drugs

-sssssssssssssss, Illinois


Vitamins are considered drugs. A drug is a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. Vitamins are essential nutrients that contribute to a healthy life. Although most people get all the vitamins they need from the foods they eat, millions of people worldwide take supplemental vitamins as part of their health regimen.

For more information, check out

-Jinhee Lee

Are weed brownies dangerous because I've heard from a friends story that you can consume more than expected and have a very scary experience?

-milk, Illinois

Hey milk- you're totally right that people can have very scary experiences as a result of edibles like weed brownies! When people eat marijuana, the effects of the drug are slowed down by the digestive process. This can lead people to consume way more drug than they realize. High doses of marijuana can cause things like paranoia, anxiety, and even hallucinations.

-Emily Einstein

Are whippets or nitrous oxide dangerous?

-DS, Illinois

Hi DonnyS, great question. Nitrous oxide can cause people to pass out if they overdose or don't breathe enough oxygen while inhaling these substances. Also, the nitrous products may contain other chemicals that can be quite dangerous, too. Here's some information on our website about inhalants in general that you may find useful:

-Wilson Compton

are you certified scientists

-firebreather65, Illinois

Yes! We are very smart :)

-Jack Stein

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