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 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

Hello,

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 https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm118079.htm.

-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: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/inhalants

-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?

-pip11,

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

ARE ALL DRUGS BAD FOR YOU

-MICHAEL-FVSU4H, Georgia

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: http://headsup.scholastic.com/, as well as https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts. 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

Hi NOR5K1
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.
https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

-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: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/marijuana-edibles-are-not-candy

-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: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes.

-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 teens.drugabuse.gov and look under your name, you'll find your answer as well as all the others. Thanks for sending your question.

-Kristen Huntley

are juuls better or worse the cigarettes

-AG, New Hampshire

Hi, AG - Many vaping liquids, like those found in Juul, contain nicotine, which is one of the most addictive substances. Using Juuls may cause some people to start using regular cigarettes, which can then cause cancer. So, while vaping may not expose you to all of the same chemicals that cigarettes do, it's still not safe. However, if someone is vaping to quit using cigarettes, this can reduce the number of toxic chemicals they are exposed to. The goal should be to quit use of all tobacco products! Check out FDA's “The Real Cost” campaign, which provides information about tobacco. https://therealcost.betobaccofree.hhs.gov/?g=t&utm_source=bing&utm_mediu...

-Heather Kimmel

are juuls better or worse then cigarettes

-AG, New Hampshire

Hi AG.,

There is no safe tobacco product, especially for teens. Both cigarettes and vapes can deliver cancer-causing chemicals into your lungs, and both can also expose you to nicotine, which can disrupt your brain development. According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes. Nicotine is harmful to the developing brain because it can change your brain and lead to nicotine addiction. You can get more facts about e-cigarettes by visiting: https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/getthefacts.html.

-Suzanne Lim

Are juuls more addictive than vapes or traditional cigs?

-dmcnamara, Arizona

Hey there dmcnamara.

We can't state definitively that JUUL is more addictive. But we are really concerned about the very high levels of nicotine in JUUL compared to other vapes. And the reports we've seen of individual teenagers clearly showing signs of addiction are very disturbing.

One thing we're trying to do at FDA is get compelling information into the hands of kids who are walking around thinking e-cigarettes don't carry any risk. Check out our Real Cost E-cigarette campaign at this website: https://therealcost.betobaccofree.hhs.gov/.

-Mitch Zeller

Are males or females more apt to drinking to much and getting "sick"?

-SE, Montana

Interesting question! Scientists have found that it really depends. Females tend to be smaller than males and have less water in their bodies. As a result, females tend to get more alcohol into their blood and brains when they drink, which can lead to bigger impairments in memory, balance, etc. More men have alcohol use disorders. But women who have alcohol use disorders tend to get worse more quickly. Females also exhibit more brain damage from drinking, more damage to the liver and other organs, and have a higher chance of developing cancers and other diseases as a result of drinking.

-Steve Gust

are medical drugs made safer or healthier than other drugs

-Who am I, Illinois

Hi Who am I! Medical drugs are tested extensively to ensure that they produce the most benefits to the patient while reducing unwanted side-effects, and are therefore healthier than drugs of abuse, when used as prescribed. However, sometimes drugs can have unintended consequences, like with prescription pain-killers that were intended to treat pain but were found to make people develop substance use disorders. You can find more information on these here.

-Vani Pariyadath

are nicotine and caffeine similar?

-anicola, Illinois

Hey anicola! Nicotine and caffeine are both considered stimulants, or drugs that activate the sympathetic nervous system and cause an increase in heart rate and breathing rate.

-Emily Einstein