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 amphetamines addictive?

-cohen, Vermont

Hi Middlebury!Yep! Amphetamines, like most other drugs of abuse increases the brain chemical dopamine, leading to high levels of the chemical in the brain. Dopamine is involved in reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. Amphetamine’s ability to release dopamine rapidly in reward regions of the brain produces the intense euphoria, or “rush,” that many users feel taking the drug. And with repeated use the brain can 'crave' the drug leading to compulsive drug use- addiction!-yikes! Learn more about amphetamines by clicking here: http://www.teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_stim1.php, http://www.nida.nih.gov/DrugPages/Methamphetamine.html

-David Shurtleff

Are certain drugs used more in certain areas of the country? for example - midwest finds more teens using and abusing BLANK drug?

-dpicot, Michigan

Great question! Yes, some drugs are more commonly used in certain areas of the country. Methamphetamine, for example, is common in the west and midwest areas of the country, perhaps because methamphetamine labs are more common in the west and midwest (thereby increasing the production of meth in those areas). Prescription drugs are abused everwhere, but this problem is especially severe in Florida, where the supply of prescription drugs is high. Some drugs, however, are really common everwhere -- like marijuana.

-Kevin Conway

Are crack and

-awesomedude99, Maryland

Hello awesome dude. Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. The powdered hydrochloride salt form of cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and then injected. Crack is the street name given to the form of cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal, which, when heated, produces vapors that are smoked. The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated. Basically it can be considered the same thing. If you stay away from it you will remain an awesome dude. Check out teens.drugabuse.gov

-Carol Krause

Are crack and cocaine the same thing?

-awesomedude99, Maryland

Hello awesome dude. Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. The powdered hydrochloride salt form of cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and then injected. Crack is the street name given to the form of cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal, which, when heated, produces vapors that are smoked. The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated. Basically it can be considered the same thing. If you stay away from it you will remain an awesome dude. Check out teens.drugabuse.gov.

-Carol Krause

Are drugs fun?

-TheIronSquanto7, Michigan

Hey Rochester Adams HS, MI! Thanks for your question. People say they use drugs because they think it will be 'fun.' In fact, drugs have a very clever way of hijacking your brain mechanisms to make you think they are pleasurable: they cause the brain to release a substance called dopamine. But these feelings are short-lived. Dopamine--one of many known brain neurotransmitters--is intimately involved in important aspects of brain function, which makes it a key player in drug abuse and addiction. Dopamine is present in regions of the brain that control movement, emotion, thought, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. In fact, when you have a nice meal or listen to your favorite music, dopamine signals your brain that something important has happened that needs to be remembered--prompting you to repeat the behavior. Drugs can cause a much more powerful release of dopamine so that such natural pleasures can no longer compete, because they cannot produce the same 'high' that drug abusers remember and seek to repeat. Eventually, people become focused on obtaining and using drugs at every opportunity--although recreating the initial high becomes nearly impossible. Dopamine is also involved in other brain disorders that have nothing to do with drug abuse: the tremors and other symptoms that characterize Parkinson's disease, for example, are the direct result of the loss of neurons that make dopamine. Addiction is a disease characterized by uncontrollable drug craving, drug seeking, and drug use that persist even in the face of extremely negative consequences, such as losing your job, doing poorly in school, getting arrested, or getting sick. Addiction develops because of changes to the brain caused by drug use. Initially, all drugs of abuse, either directly or indirectly, increase the activity of the chemical dopamine in the brain's reward centers, which is what makes people feel good. However, with continued drug use and excessive activation of dopamine neurons, the brain starts to adapt to the good feeling, so more drug is needed to achieve it. This causes people to become dependent on the drug, to feel bad when it is not in their system, and to seek and take the drug compulsively--without even thinking about it. Another way that drugs change the brain is to affect the ability to make decisions, such as judging what's important, what's healthy, and what's dangerous. The compulsive seeking and using of drugs even in the face of potentially devastating consequences is the essence of addiction. I'd say drugs are definitely NOT fun.

-Joni Rutter

are drugs illegal?

-catch22, Maryland

Hi catch22---Some are and some aren't. Drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana are generally illegal. Prescription drugs are legal if prescribed by a doctor, but it is illegal to abuse them---taking them without a proper prescription. Some states allow marijuana to be taken for symptom relief when recommended by a doctor, but the federal government has not approved it as a safe medication. Confused? It is important to know that when there are drugs, there are often legal consequences. Anywhere from 50-70% of people in our country' prisons and jails can benefit from some sort of drug treatment. They are often in prison for selling drugs, stealing things to get money to pay for drugs, or being violent and commiting crimes while high on drugs.

-Carol Krause

Are drugs like

-jimmmmmy, Indiana

They can produce addiction, although it may be a little different from some other drugs like
cocaine,
alcohol. But it can be hard to quit steroids, and stopping has been associated with depression and suicidal thinking

-Nora Volkow

Are drugs like steroids addictive?

-jimmmmmy, Indiana

They can produce addiction, although it may be a little different from some other drugs like cocaine, alcohol. But it can be hard to quit steroids, and stopping has been associated with depression and suicidal thinking.

-Nora Volkow

Are kids with divorced parents more likely to do drugs rather than kids without divorced parents?

-drugsR4thugs, Nebraska

Yes, but only if the divorce results in less monitoring of the young person (i.e. who he or she is hanging out with and where and when). My own parents divorced when I was nine, but my mother was on my case all the time. No drugs for me!

-Jim Bjork

Are more teens likely to take drugs if there parents are telling them constantly not to take drugs or are they more likely to take drugs if there parents don't bring it up?

-Bethanne C, Iowa

Howdie Bethanne--thanks for submitting a terrific question.Parents can have a tremendous positive influence on teens’ decisions to not drink and use drugs by communicating risks of drugs/alcohol, role-playing how to avoid peer pressure, encouraging their children to participate in extra-curriular acivities, etc. It isn't always easy to talk about serious subjects, so sometimes parents and kids might be uncomfortable. It helps to get the facts and we have great resources online. Go to www.teens.drugabuse.gov for science-based information that parents can share too. There are teacher and parent resources on our main website as well: http://www.drugabuse.gov/parent-teacher.html

-Bethany Deeds

Are mushrooms very common anymore?

-Hank H, New York

Hello to Skaneateles High School! Alcohol and drug use do follow trends across generations and time. Different generations can abuse different drugs and/or alcohol in different ways. In Volume I of the Monitoring the Future survey (appendix E) there is a chart measuring annual prevalence of use for all seniors of hallucinogens other than LSD. Numbers have gone up and down since 2001 with a high of 5.7 percent in 2004. In 2010, it was 3.7 percent. To access the chart, go to the survey at http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/MTF.html. scroll down to the 2010 MTF survey and click on Volume I. Then click on Appendix E.

-Bethany Deeds

are only some drugs addictive?

-mhernandez, Texas

Addiction is when someone uses a drug compulsively despite knowing that it is harming them or their quality of life. All abused drugs can produce this effect in some people. Of course, many medications, such as aspirin, antibiotics that you take for a fever, or asthma medications are not addictive.

-Dave Thomas

are people who smoke weed more prone to canibilism

-llamasarecool, Michigan

thanks for your question,As far as I know, the munchies do not extend to the urge to eat human flesh...

-Ruben Baler

Are people who struggle with depression and anxiety as well as other mental disorders more prone to addiction?

-maddiec, Wisconsin

hi maddiec: For many teens (and adults) depression or anxiety and drug use go hand-in-hand. Sometimes, folks who are depressed or anxious use drugs to make themselves feel better (commonly called 'self-medicating'). This is not a good approach to treating depression or anxiety, and the drug use often leads to more problems. If someone is depressed and they are thinking about using drugs, this is a great opportunity for both prevention and treatment (preventing drug use and treating depression). Using drugs when depressed will only make it harder to treat depression or anxiety. So, if someone is depressed or has an anxiety problem, best to seek professional help - we have many effective treatments for depression and anxiety in teens.Here is some general information about depression: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/.And here is some more information about anxiety: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml Want to know more about Depression in Children and Teens? See: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/To find general information on substance abuse prevention and treatment a good place to start is the Web site of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. www.samhsa.gov.

-Joel Sherrill

Are people who use

-Emily T, Maine

Good question. Most people who smoke marijuana already smoke cigarettes or drink
alcohol. So, they are already using other drugs. Some people go on from marijuana to other drugs, too. Once someone starts with one drug it's much more likely that they'll continue. It's safest not to start at all

-Wilson Compton

Are people who use marijuana more likely to start using other drugs as well?

-Emily T, Maine

Good question. Most people who smoke marijuana already smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. So, they are already using other drugs. Some people go on from marijuana to other drugs, too. Once someone starts with one drug it's much more likely that they'll continue. It's safest not to start at all.

-Wilson Compton

are protein workout products bad?

-ryanzorn, Pennsylvania

hi ryanzorn.I don't think so. if they contain just protein, they should be fine. And you do need a lot of protein to rebuild those muscle fibers that were torn down during heavy lifting...

-Ruben Baler

Are schitzophrnic people crazy in the mind but still smart?

-jprice, Texas

Someone who has schizophrenia can certainly also be smart, but their illness can sometimes mask that. John Nash is an example--he won the Nobel prize in economics and also suffers from schizophrenia. 'A beautiful mind' is a book/movie that tells his story.

-Susan Weiss

Are some cigarettes better to smoke than others?

-pekin2016, Iowa

That is a hard question to answer. Smoking anything poses a risk to your lungs because of the harmful effects of chemicals produced during burning. Even the so called 'e-cigarretes' still deliver nicotine, which is both addictive and has harmful physiological effects. In fact, tobacco plants evolved to produce nicotine to kill the insects that feed on the tobacco plant. So that should give you some idea of whether any cigarrette is good to smoke.

-Steve Grant

Are some prescription medicines harmful to your body?

-echan, Texas

Yes, most drugs have side effects that could cause a lot of problems to the body, or even kill if taken in large amounts. Even Tylenol could permanently damage the liver if overdosed. Also anti-cancer drugs can have severe side effects, such that the only reason people take them is that they will die from the cancer otherwise!The other risk in all this is ADDICTION, where someone who uses drugs for fun or to treat pain loses control over the drug, and can't keep himself or herself from stopping looking to get the drug and use it.

-Jim Bjork

Can all of the drugs that we know of affect us negatively in some way?

-leapfrog33, Pennsylvania

Thanks for the question!By definition, all drugs of abuse can create problems in the lives of their user - marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, prescription drugs, alcohol (and others) all can, can impair you ability to think and learn, lead you to make really bad decisions that could influence your health and safety (e.g., increase risk of accidents, injury, STDs and more), and can lead to addiction. Want to learn more about what teens are thinking about drugs and how drugs impact the body? Click on - https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/, http://www.teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/index.php)

-David Shurtleff

Can an addict stop their addiction?

-IMS424, Louisiana

The short answer is YES but of course it's more complicated than that. Addiction is a chronic (long-lasting) brain disease -- that means it actually changes the brain in major ways. Recovery from addiction can also be a long-lasting process, but it can be done. Scientists (including many working with NIDA) have identified a number of medications as well as behavioral (counseling) therapies that are effective for addressing many aspects of addiction, and we continue to work on more options. You can learn about many effective treatment options by checking out our publication, 'Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment' (http://www.nida.nih.gov/PODAT/PODATIndex.html), or at our site for teens (https://teens.drugabuse.gov).

-Lori Ducharme

Can caffine actually damage you?

-tsheehan, New Hampshire

caffeine is a drug that can cause dependence but it is a very mildly addictive drug with generally no major ill effects, except for the withdrawal symptoms that many dependent people experience when they miss their caffeine fix.thanks!

-Ruben Baler

can cemicals hurt you

-40009091, Maryland

Sure. There are all sorts of chemicals. Poisons, food additives, vitamins, the list goes on and on. I am guessing you are asking more about drugs. Some drugs are medications, and when used properly should not hurt you. Medications used improperly can certainly hurt you. For example prescription pain killers used improperly kill thousands of people each year.Drugs of abuse (e.g. marijuana, LSD, cocaine…) each have a long list of negative effects on people. For more info, see https://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/index.php

-Dave Thomas

Can cocaine damage you?

-chaya, Maryland

Yes, and very badly. Please see this link: http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/cocaine.html.

-Anto Bonci

Can a beer a day cause

-Kelso C, Arkansas

Very unlikely. Your liver gets rid of one serving of alcohol, like a can of beer, in about 1.5 hours. Alcohol poisoning is caused when your body builds up a very high level of alcohol. Alcohol poisoning occurs from a single episode of drinking way too much. You cannot get alcohol poisoning from drinking a little bit over a long time. However, it is important to know that drinking alcohol during the teen years, presumably even just a serving per day, seriously increases the chances of becoming an alcoholic at some point in life

-Aaron White

Can a beer a day cause alcohol poison over 10 years?

-Kelso C, Arkansas

Very unlikely. Your liver gets rid of one serving of alcohol, like a can of beer, in about 1.5 hours. Alcohol poisoning is caused when your body builds up a very high level of alcohol. Alcohol poisoning occurs from a single episode of drinking way too much. You cannot get alcohol poisoning from drinking a little bit over a long time. However, it is important to know that drinking alcohol during the teen years, presumably even just a serving per day, seriously increases the chances of becoming an alcoholic at some point in life.

-Aaron White

can a food be a drug?

-princess torie, Maryland

Ahh, great question! Some people refer to food as being as addicting as say, cocaine. For some people, they exhibit behaviors that are similar to those of someone addicted to drugs. That is, uncontrolled seeking of food and consumption.Here are some of the characteristics of addiction, can you see why some people can consider a food a drug (substitute the word 'food' for 'drug' below)?Taking the drug more often or in larger amounts than intended. Unsuccessful attempts to quit; persistent desire, craving. Excessive time spent in drug seeking. Feeling intoxicated at inappropriate times, or feeling withdrawal symptoms from a drug at such times. Giving up other things for it. Continued use, despite knowledge of harm to oneself and others. Marked tolerance in which the amount needed to satisfy increases at first before leveling off. Characteristic withdrawal symptoms for particular drugs. Taking the drug to relieve or avoid withdrawal. Hope this helps.

-Joe Frascella

Can a New Born be Dependent on a Drug right away?

-leprechaun, Iowa

Yes. Unfortunately. Exposure during pregnancy to any number of drugs (e.g., alcohol, nicotine, opioids) can have a variety of profound and/or subtle physiological effects on a new-born baby. http://www.drugabuse.gov/tib/prenatal.html

-Kris Bough

Can a person become addicted to a drug after only one use?

-Bourque, Louisiana

That is a good question. When you take an illegal drug, it affects your brain. Being addicted to a drug means that changes have taken place in the brain that prevent someone from being able to control their urge to seek and use the drug. Everyone's brain and natural brain chemistry are a little different, and while it is unlikely addiction would occur after a single use, the effects you feel could prompt you to want to use again, and from there it would be a very slippery slope. It's hard to say at what point you would become addicted, but we no for sure you can't get addicted if you never take the drug. Really...there are better ways to have a good time.

-Christine Colvis