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 hazards with e-cigarettes? My friend says they are good for his lungs because they have glycerol

-Andrea B, Hawaii

Really? He thinks inhaling glycerol vapors into his lungs is good for him? Hey ask him the definition of gullible? E-cigs are pretty new to the marketplace and in some of the limited testing of them, scientists have found that they don't always contain what they claim to. Many do contain nicotine, and some that claim to have nicotine don't, and then another chemical to help vaporize the nicotine so it can be inhaled. Remember nicotine is addictive, so these are just another delivery device for nicotine. There are no standards out there for how these are made, so your friend has no idea what he is actually inhaling in those devices. Don't believe the hype of the companies, the bottom line is they just want to make a profit off of gullible people....

-Cindy Miner

are there new drugs created everyday?

-sbarton, New Hampshire

Hello sbarton at Kingswood Regional Middle School! YES! We have experts at NIDA whose primary job is track these emerging drug trends and collaborate with scientists across the nation who are identifying them. Some newer ones are K2/spice, saliva, and bath salts. Click on this link if you'd like to read more about them.

-Bethany Deeds

Are there really any advantages to taking drugs?

-Biebersgurl, Texas

Not really, unless they are prescribed by your doctor! For specific drugs, you can go here to learn more: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/science-addiction http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/by/6/drugs-abuse

-Joni Rutter

Are there still things about drugs that scientists still don't understand?

-123456789, North Carolina

Hi there, of course! While we scientists like to think we know a lot about a lot, there is still so much to learn about drugs and how they work and how to help prevent people from using them or how to quit if they are using. Thanks for the question!

-David Shurtleff

Are toxicology screens beginning to include testing for bath salts and spice?

-sgallagher5, Maryland

I don't know where that testing stands right now. The big problem is that the chemicals that are sold as bath salts and spice are changed by the people who make them when the legal system shows an interest in them.

-Nancy Pilotte

All drugs are dangerous in some way shape or form but which would be the most harmful to teenagers in our generation

-Jelly2013, Texas

It's a great question. It really depends on the dose, because some drugs at high dose can kill you. Even after a single exposure. For example, stimulants like amphetamines or cocaine can cause sudden death by causing strokes or heart attacks in teenagers. Get the facts on drugs here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts.

-Anto Bonci

are all drugs addictive?

-brookep, Oklahoma

No, but most of them are. LSD and PCP are not addictive.

-Nora Volkow

Are bath salts bad?

-111kl, Louisiana

Not the legal kind you put in your bathtub. But the illegal ones, yes, very bad. The synthetic cathinones in bath salts can cause paranoia, agitation, and hallucinatory delirium in some people; some even display psychotic and violent behavior, and deaths have been reported in several instances. See http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/synthetic-cathinones-bath-salts

-Jen Katt

Are bath salts bought at Bath Body works???

-sarajo1313, North Carolina

The synthetic products marketed as “bath salts” to evade detection by authorities should not be confused with products such as Epsom salts that are sold to improve the experience of bathing. The latter have no psychoactive (drug-like) properties.

-Jack Stein

Are bathsalts and meth similar?

-cheezburgar12, North Carolina

Hi cheezburgar12, They are chemically similar, and both have stimulant properties. The energizing and often agitating effects reported in people who have taken bath salts are consistent with other drugs like meth and cocaine that raise the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain circuits regulating reward and movement. A surge in dopamine in these circuits causes feelings of euphoria and increased activity. Eric

-Eric Wargo

are boys more likely to get addicted to drugs than girls?

-purple2016, North Carolina

Yes. Males are more likely than females to abuse and become addicted to drugs. According to the current National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NSDUH)-an annual survey of more than 25,000 respondents, over 10% of males and about 6% of females age 12 or older were classified with substance abuse or dependence (illicit drugs or alcohol).

-Bethany Deeds

Are cancer patients allowed to use medical marijuana? If yes, are there certain types of cancer patients that are allowed?

-abc, Pennsylvania

Marijuana has been used to counter the nausea associated with chemotherapy used for treating cancer. However, marijuana is not actually an FDA - approved medicine for any use (and is not legal according to the Federal Government). It has not gone through the process required for all medicines to be approved--carefully controlled studies that show its safety and effectiveness. In addition to marijuana being smoked (which is not good for the lungs), the plant has thousands of ingredients, most of which have not been identified, and which vary from plant to plant. Medicines are supposed to have precisely controlled ingredients so that a physician can prescribe them appropriately to their patients. On the other hand, one of the active ingredients in marijuana (THC) is approved as a treatment for nausea and for severe weight loss associated with AIDS.

-Susan Weiss

Are certain drugs okay or good for you in moderation?

-Archie, Iowa

Hi Archie, There are some reports that a glass of red wine on an occasional basis may have some health benefits. I have not seen any similar data for crack, heroin, marijuana or any other drugs of abuse. Further, moderate use of drugs of abuse can hurts one's health and lead to heavy drug use. Here are some drug facts if you want some more information: http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse. Dave

-Dave Thomas

Are club drugs used more by teens or young adults?

-waterbug31, Illinois

Hi waterbug31, I'm going to give you one example of a drug in the 'club drug' group and to answer your question I turn to the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future study. In 2011, just over 2% of high school seniors reported they were current users of MDMA/ecstasy as opposed to 0.7% of college students/young adults. You can see similar stats for a whole bunch of other drugs at http://monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/mtf-vol2_2011.pdf

-Marsha Lopez

Are drug abuse and suicide linked together?

-MeGustaElDulces, Illinois

Hi MeGustaELDulces. Drug abuse and suicide can be linked in a couple different ways. Sometimes, when people are depressed or suicidal, they might turn to drugs to try to feel better. The problem is, using drugs that are not from a doctor to feel better doesn't provide a good solution and makes things worse or leads to more problems. Other times, people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol do things they wouldn't normally do-- sometimes they become more depressed or impulsive and can harm themselves or become suicidal. The bottom line is if anyone is using drugs OR feeling suicidal, it's very important to get help. A good first step can be to talk to a trusted adult (for example a parent, teach, counselor, or doctor); if it becomes a crisis, help is available by phone 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK.

-Joel Sherrill

are drugs bad

-My Name Is, Maryland

Drugs are bad in many different ways. It really depends on the drug taken. For example, some drugs like cocaine or stimulants can produce a blood flow reduction and stroke, while other drugs can shrink the number of brain cells by activating brain chemicals that cause brain cell death. Others can damage your liver, lungs, or cause coma and death - even with a single dose. The one thing that abused drugs have in common is that they can produce addiction. This is continuing to take the drug despite harmful health effects, damage to relationships, or legal consequences. You can find more information on the health effects of various drugs here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts.

-Anto Bonci

Are drugs painful?

-IMolina, Texas

Don't know what you mean by painful but drugs have a powerful impact on your body and brain. Over time drug users may become addicted. Prolonged drug abuse can cause medical problems -- lung cancer, heart disease, liver disease, and addiction. Drug use can also cause personal problems, poor school performance, and even arrest. See http://www.drugabuse.gov/consequences/ for more information related to the medical consequences of drug use. Sometimes people don't realize how serious their drug use is and deny the negative impact.

-Redonna Chandler

are drugs really addicted ?????

-aruiz, Texas

Drugs are addictive. Addiction means that people can't stop using them even though they know the drug is harming their life.

-Dave Thomas

Are electronic cigarrettes harmful?

-superstar7, Iowa

Electronic cigarettes are so new to the scene that we don't have a lot of scientific data on their effects yet and we don't even know that much about what's in all of them. The ones that have been tested contain varying amounts of nicotine (in fact some e-cigs say they have nicotine but don't). The nicotine is dissolved in another chemical so that it can be heated usually by a small battery in the e-cig. There have been a few reports of e-cigarettes exploding when people use them causing some serious injuries to their hands and faces. The bottom line....you don't know what you are getting in these products...so don't believe the hype, hype usually means they want your money. Personally, I want to keep my money to spend on fun things, like treats for my dogs...or going to a University of Maryland basketball game!

-Cindy Miner

are energy drinks bad for you?

-*DN*, North Carolina

hi DN, We are still investigating this question. It appears, so far that, in moderation, the dangers might be modest, but we are nevertheless concerned about the high caffeine content in some drinks that could cause serious damage to some people that may be at higher risk for dangerous health effects, particularly if they have, for example, some cardiovascular vulnerability. Another problem of energy drinks is that the manufacturers don't even have to list all the ingredients in the drinks. hope this helps thanks for the question. ruben

-Ruben Baler

are hallucinegens kind of like texturepacks for real life?

-oh_mah_gerd, Maryland

Hi oh_man_gerd, Interesting question. I suppose you could partly think of hallucinogens that way, but they do much more than alter the way things look -- they can change or distort all aspects of perception but also cause hallucinations and other distortions of reality. (And unlike with a game, you can't just turn them off when you are done.) Eric

-Eric Wargo

are kids our age most likely to use drugs ?

-huribe, Texas

Hi huribe, thanks for your question! According to the University of Michigan's 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey the majority of kids are not using drugs. About 13% of 8th graders, 30% of 10th graders, and 40% of 12th graders say they have used a drug at least once in the past year. You can look at all sorts of information on youth drug use at their website, and even look at breakdowns of individual drug types - check it out! http://monitoringthefuture.org/ http://monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/mtf-overview2012.pdf

-Marsha Lopez

are methamphetamine and pills are the same

-anguyen, Texas

Methamphetamine is a very addictive drug known as a stimulant that is closely related to amphetamine. It is a white odorless, bitter-tasting powder that can be taken by mouth or by injecting or snorting. It can also be heated and smoked. It is long lasting and toxic to a nerve terminals in brain that contain a chemical called dopamine. For more information see: http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/methamphetamine. Its best to stay away from methamphetamine! Thanks for the question!

-Aria Crump

are people just so stupid that they will drink dangerous amounts of alchol to just get drunk?!?

-lhub3, Illinois

That's a good question - there are lots of reasons people drink. Some people may get messages from movies, TV, and our general culture that drinking can make you feel 'cool.' Others may feel that they can escape problems in their life by drinking. But they cannot - drinking only makes any problems you already have much worse. And there's nothing cool about throwing up in a garbage can or wrecking a car.

-Shuly Babitz

are prescription drugs more addicting then normal drugs?

-odempsey, New Hampshire

That is a really difficult question! Each drug impacts people in very significant ways. Many drugs, including prescription drugs, make you high by activating chemicals in your brain such as opioids, dopamine, serotonin, and many others. Here is some information on most of them: http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse Taking prescription drugs that weren't prescribed for you or taking your own prescription medication in ways or amounts not intended can cause lots of unpleasant health effects over the long term, including addiction. Prescription drugs contain ingredients that can cause serious health problems if abused. For example, prescription painkillers like OxyContin can depress breathing; and prescription stimulants like Adderall, if abused, can cause strokes. See http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-over-counter-medications for more information on prescription drugs.

-Richard Denisco

Are psilocybin mushrooms dangerous?

-mjk, Pennsylvania

Psilocybin is a hallucinogen. That means that after taking these mushrooms, you may have altered perceptions of your environment. These deranged perceptions may make you take inappropriate actions that can hurt you. So, like any other hallucinogen, these mushrooms can be dangerous. You can learn more about hallucinogens here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/hallucinogens

-Nancy Pilotte

Are RX drugs worse then illegal drugs if abused?

-clydej, New Mexico

Hey there. Don't know what you mean by 'worse.' Some prescription drugs are as addictive as illegal drugs. For more information see: http://www.teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/prescription-drugs.

-Redonna Chandler

Are some drugs good for you

-Tyshawn, Georgia

Hi Randolph Clay, Keep in mind that there are legal and illegal drugs. I wouldn't consider any illegal drugs as 'good for you', but legal medications, if taken as prescribed by a doctor, can be used safely.

-David Shurtleff

Are some drugs good for you when you are sick?

-buttercup5, New Jersey

Yes, of course. Medications have improved and transformed many people's lives. It's when they're taken in ways or doses or by people they weren't prescribed for that makes them dangerous.

-Jen Katt

are some drugs good for you? i always hear that some type drug is invented and is used in medication. that must mean that some drugs are good for you right?

-dgasker, Texas

Yes, of course. Medications have improved and transformed many people's lives. It's when they're taken in ways or doses or by people they weren't prescribed for that makes them dangerous.

-Jen Katt