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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Is pot bad for you?

-johnny appleseed,

There are many long-term effects of smoking marijuana. The use of marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and,contrary to popular belief,it can be addictive. Marijuana smoke, like cigarette smoke, can harm the lungs. The use of marijuana can impair short-term memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and also distort perception. Marijuana has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. It also may weaken the immune system and possibly increase a user's likelihood of developing cancer.For more information about marijuana, go to https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana

-Kevin Conway

is second hand cigar smoke as bad as ciggarette smoke?

-apollo 13,

probably yes.

-Barry Hoffer

Is there more drug abuse issues in teens or in adults over 21?

-Boris,

Well, good question. But complicated, if you look at lifetime use of drugs, adults will have higher rates of abuse, dependence and treatment. This is because they have had a longer time to be identified and to potentially become drug abusers. However young people are particularly vulnerable to drug abuse for social and physical reasons. If a young person is in a group that is experimenting with drugs there is a huge social pressure pull to use as well. Saying "no" is difficult and kids often feel that they have to use to be accepted by their friends. At the same time different body systems develop at different rates. For example sexual maturation occurs in early to mid adolescence for most kids whereas the brain is not fully developed until the mid 20's. We are not sure of the extent of damage that drug use can have on the brain and whether that damage will self-correct over time. Moreover, being impaired on drugs makes one less inhibited and often results in poor judgment around sexual issues, driving under the influence, expression of aggression and so forth. All in all would say that the period of drug initiation for youth is one that is very complicated because of the social, emotional, sexual, family and academic pressures of adolescence.

-Liz Robertson

Is United States one of the countrys that have most teens using drugs today or not?

-mcfarlandesmael,

The United States has one of the highest rates of drug abuse by teens.Several other countries in Europe and Asia also have high rates of abuse of particular drugs. For more information on worldwide patterns, you can look at http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/WDR.html.

-Steve Gust

is using a drug once called an addiction?

-blake,

Good question. I would say using drug once is not called an addiction. However,some drugs are highly addictive and using them one once can lead to addiction and to brain changes that prompt continued drug use and make it really hard to stop.Cigarettes are a good example. It is also important to know that the younger a person begins to use drugs, the more likely he or she will progress to more serious drug abuse.To learn more, check out "The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/.

-Eve Reider

Is using drugs heriditary?

-crystal,

Drug abuse and alcoholism have strong heriditary components,which means they tend to "run in families." Scientists estimate that genetic factors account for about 50 percent of a person's risk of becoming addicted.Many other factors, such as stress levels and family environment also contribute heavily. We even have identified particular gene variants that are linked to higher risk of alcoholism, but even if you have the high risk form of these genes,alcoholism can be entirely avoided if alcohol is not used. Here's NIDA's Website for teens with information on the science behind drug abuse, facts on drugs, questions and answers, real stories and interactive activities. http://www.teens.drugabuse.gov

-Joni Rutter

Once you smoke for awhile, can you reverse the damage you have done to your lungs?

-fef627,

Not completely. Smoking causes changes in cells that line the lungs. Some of the changes do not reverse. Certainly you breathe better and reduce your chances of getting serious lung diseases. Also,quitting reduces your chances of dying from a smoking-related disorder. It's very worthwhile to quit. Here's a website with resources to help you quit smoking: http://www.smokefree.gov

-Frank Vocci

QUE ES DROGA

-A.A.A,

El trmino "droga" es utilizado en forma general para describir una substancia que introducida al organismo produce un cambio en una estructura o funcin. Sin embargo, con el fin de diferenciar entre una droga de abuso y una prescrita por el mdico, usualmente se usa el trmino "droga" para las que son de abuso y "medicamento" para las prescritas. Para ms informacin: http://www.drugabuse.gov/nidaespanol.html

-Ivan Montoya

some of my friends drink a lot of cough medicine to get high? is that dangerous?

-plbaby,

It is dangerous - dextromethorphan, which is often abbreviated DXM, is the drug in cough syrup that gives the high and abusing it can lead to various negative side effects especially if it is used along with alcohol.

-Nicolette Borek

what are some affects of drugs?

-coolcat69,

One of the most serious consequences of using drugs of abuse is addiction. Addiction is experienced as uncontrollable drug craving, drug seeking, and drug use that persists even in the face of extremely negative consequences such as losing your job, doing poorly in school, and not taking pleasure in the things that used to bring you pleasure. Drug seeking becomes compulsive, in large part as a result of changes to the brain due to prolonged drug use.Drug addiction is a condition that can become chronic, with relapses possible even after long periods of abstinence.Some drugs are "toxic" and can cause damage to organs such as the heart.To learn more, check out "The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/.

-David Shurtleff

what are some common types of remedies for drug addiction?

-sm,

Drug abuse treatment is the most common and effective remedy for drug addiction. For more information on treatment and where you can find it, visit the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP or go to their website at http://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

-Eve Reider

What are some effects of taking meth?

-Jcup,

it accelerates your heart, decreases your need for sleep and food , can make you very anxious and paranoid. with repeated use it can make you addicted

-Nora Volkow

what are some immediate effects of using steriods

-13cauds,

it can make you feel good and strengthen your muscles and stamina. in the long term it will decrease your hormones and can make you feel depressed and even suicidal, and there are a variety of other health effects as well. If you want to know more about steroid abuse, go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/steroids-anabolic

-Nora Volkow

What are some long term effect of using exctasy or what is known as the X pill?

-Kim and Ang,

Right after you take ecstasy you can feel relaxed and very social for several hours, depending on the dose. Sometimes people feel depressed after using it, and if you use it regularly it may have longer lasting effects, including damaging some nerve cells in your brain because ecstasy can raise your body temperature; this can have deadly effects. For more about club drugs go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/club-drugs

-Barry Hoffer

What are some long term effect of using exstasy or what is known as the X pill?

-Kim and Ang,

the x pill is ecstasy- ecstasy can damage serotonin cells in your brain which are cells that regulate mood and as a result it can increase the risk for depression

-Nora Volkow

what are some of the effects that could happen to you if you smoke marajauna?

-Jessucka :),

There are many long-term effects of smoking marijuana. The use of marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and,contrary to popular belief,it can be addictive. Marijuana smoke, like cigarette smoke, can harm the lungs. The use of marijuana can impair short-term memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and also distort perception. Marijuana has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. It also may weaken the immune system and possibly increase a user's likelihood of developing cancer.For more information about marijuana, go to https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana

-Kevin Conway

What are mental and physical effects of using heroin?

-S3MAreso.stu,

mental effects include dependence and addiction. dependence symptoms that will emerge when you stop the drug can include cramping, seizures, sweating, racing heart. addiction is the changes that occur when you lose control over the drug taking and can not stop even when you want to

-Nora Volkow

what are physical risks of marijuana

-health class,

Marijuana increases heart rate immediately after it is smoked-which can be dangerous for some people. And someone who smokes marijuana regularly may develop some of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers do, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illnesses, a heightened risk of lung infections. Marijuana can also effect judgement and decision making leading to dangerous behaviors, such as driving while intoxicated, thus increasing the risks for accidents and other problems. If you want to learn more about the negative effects of marijuana abuse please visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Marijuana/default.html

-Barry Hoffer

What are physical signs of abuse or addiction?

-sgagnon,

the signs of addiction can include the loss of control in the intake of drugs and the inability to stop even when someone wants to do so

-Nora Volkow

What are possible recovery methods for tobacco withdrawal?

-lilbits828,

In tobacco, nicotine is responsible for tobacco withdrawal symptoms. Clinical trials have shown that the combination of pharmacotherapy (medication)and behavioral interventions (therapy) is the most helpful in people quit smoking and manage their nicotine withdrawal. Pharmacological interventions could include nicotine replacement therapies (nicotine gum, patch, nasal spray, etc.). Behavioral intervention teaches people how to deal with craving, avoid high risk situations and prevent relapse.If your doctor thinks its a good idea, you might also receive certain kind of antidepressants to increase the success of your effort. Additional information is at www.smokefree.gov

-Petra Jacobs

what age group uses drugs the most?

-sm,

We have found that for most drugs, young adults have the highest rate of drug abuse. This means that the age group from about 18 to 25 have the highest rate of drug abuse however,it is important to keep in mind that people of any age can abuse drugs. As a physician, I've seen patients with drug abuse as old as 80 and as young as 12. For more information, check out: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/

-Wilson Compton

What age to people start drinking?

-Libbs,

There's a wide range of ages over which youth start to drink. Some start while still in middle school, while others wait until high school. By 10th grade, about half of youth report alcohol use in the past year.

-Aria Crump

what are 3 long term effects of marijuana

-Greg,

Long terms effects of marijuana can lead to respiratory problems beacause marijuana is smoked.Marijuana has been shown to cause cancer of the head or neck, and can also lead to addiction where individuals have a "compulsion" to use the drug at the expense of doing other daily activities. For more information, see: http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Marijuana/default.html

-David Shurtleff

What are Date Rape Drugs??

-JessIca SOmeTHing,

A number of drugs have been used in date rape because they can be slipped into someone's drink and have no taste, smell, or color; some of these are ketamine, rohypnol and gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB).If you have experienced any sexual assault you can call a 24 hour help line for assistance 1-800-333-4444, and some more information on date rape can be found at http://my.clevelandclinic.org/childrens-hospital/health-info/ages-stages/adolescence/hic-Rape-and-Date-Rape.

-Marsha Lopez

what are depressents?

-cutiepie15,

Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are "depressants."Pentobarbital and phenobarbital are examples of barbiturates. Both barbiturates and benzodiazepines are useful in treating anxiety, insomnia, agitation, and seizures--but they are also abused and can cause serious heath consequences and risk of addiction if taken without a prescription. For more information about depressants, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Prescription/prescription7.html.

-David Shurtleff

Wat actually is huffing

-Trackstar,

Huffing involves the use of inhalants which involves an inhalant-soaked rag stuffed in the mouth and inhaling from balloons (sometimes filled with nitrous oxide). Inhalants are rapidly absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream and quickly distributed to the brain and other organs. Within seconds of inhalation, you can experience intoxication along with other effects similar to those produced by alcohol including slurred speech, an inability to coordinate movements, euphoria, and dizziness.Huffing, however, can cause irregular and rapid heart rhythms and lead to heart failure and death within minutes of a prolonged session of sniffing. This syndrome is known as "sudden sniffing death." For more information on inhalants, go to: http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Inhalants.html. Because intoxication lasts only a few minutes, abusers frequently seek to prolong the high by continuing to inhale repeatedly over the course of several hours, a very dangerous practice. With successive inhalations, abusers can suffer loss of consciousness and death. At the least, they will feel less inhibited and less in control. After heavy use of inhalants, abusers may feel drowsy for several hours and experience a lingering headache.

-David Shurtleff

Wat are the new new drugs that are out right now that are dangerous and popular

-Trackstar,

We have found that the most commonly abused drugs are tobacco, alcohol and marijuana. These three drugs are still very dangerous and popular. In addition, key drugs that we've become concerned about because they appear to have increased in popularity are prescription drugs (painkillers such as vicodin and oxycontin) stimulants (ritalin and adderal),sedatives and methamphetamine.These drugs are used by a lot of teenagers who may not realize how dangerous they can be. Did you know that drugs can contribute to lots of health problems, including lung and cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and mental disorders? For more information, check out:"The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/. I hope this information helps!

-Wilson Compton

wat is a way kids can get off drugs

-bronxboi96,

There are lots of ways that kids can get off drugs. Most kids do better getting off drugs when they have help, like from a therapist, support group, and their family. For more on treatment and where you can find it, you can go to the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP or go to their website at http://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov/. If you need to speak with some immediately, call 1-800-273-TALK. It's the National Suicide Prevention line, but they can also help you find the help you need.

-Melissa Riddle

wat is meth

-YeraBeara,

"Meth" is methamphetamine--an addictive stimulant drug that can have long-lasting toxic effects on the brain. It causes wakefulness and physical activity, which over time can be exhausting and detrimental to the body and brain. Long-term use can lead to hallucinations, stroke, and psychosis (when a person has difficulty recognizing reality, thinking rationally, or communicating with others).For more information on methamphetamine, go to http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/methamph/methamph.html.

-David Shurtleff

wat is opium ,wat is opium, wat is opium,?...?wat is opium

-jimmy b,

That's a great question. Opium is a white liquid that is found in a plant known as the poppy plant. Opiates are drugs that are made from opium. Some opiates that you may have heard of include heroin, morphine and codeine.

-Larry Stanford