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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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do you snort Heroine?

-D, Illinois

Hi D
Personally? no, i don't. And I don't recommend anybody doing it either.
Try to respect your brain, It's the only one you've got, and you need it to achieve your full potential.
best of luck

-Ruben Baler

Do you support the use of medical marijuana?

-Sunny, Illinois

I support research to figure out whether marijuana or its components can be used medically. We need to know more, but there's certainly lots of reasons to think that there is medical potential if we can figure out the right ingredients, doses, delivery methods, and conditions to use it for.

-Susan Weiss

Do you think alcohol should be illegal, if it doesn't has anything good?

-Pichimimi,

Hi Pichimimi,
In the U.S., it's not legal for folks under 21 years of age to drink alcohol. The harmful effects of alcohol on the teen brain are well known.
In adults and teens, binge drinking - drinking too much and too quickly - can cause alcohol to accumulate in your body and increase the risk of damage to the brain, liver and other organs. Alcohol overdose is a serious problem. Check out this fact sheet on Alcohol Overdose for more information.

Hope this helps!
- Vijay

-Vijay Ramchandani

Do you think alcohol should be illegal?

-Pichimimi,

Hello Pichimimi,

This is a complicated question, I do not believe alcohol should be illegal, but that doesn't mean it can't be harmful. Having an addiction to alcohol puts a person at risk for many diseases including cancer, and it can have devastating effects on the lives of people who suffer from it and their family members. When alcohol was illegal, people still made it and used it so that did not solve problem of alcohol addiction. See more here: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/alcohol

Thanks,
Roger

-Roger Little

do you think it is hard for some people to say no to drugs

-Tas, Montana

Hi Tas - When it comes down to it if you have friends who are pressuring you to do something you don't really want to, perhaps they aren't friends after all. NIDA has a Drug and Health Blog post about peer pressure here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/i-wish-that-i-could-be-like-the-co... that may be useful. It's also helpful to be equipped with facts to help you make decisions that are right for you, so here is some information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA's teen site: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts. Surround yourself with peers who will support you no matter what!

-Roger Little

do you think Marijuana should be legal -LTHS

-D, Illinois

Hello D at LTHS! Great question. Legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use and for medicinal purposes is currently the subject of much public debate, and policy makers must consider a lot factors, including how marijuana affects health and whether or not it contributes to other drug use. There is still a lot we don't know. States are testing policies for both ‘medical' and recreational use of marijuana. Whatever happens, public health experts are worried that these changing policies could lead to more use among teens. Regular marijuana use as a teen may harm the developing brain – making learning and memory worse – and can impair the ability to drive safely (especially when combined with alcohol). Researchers are currently investigating questions such as these as we speak..

-Marsha Lopez

do you think that the adict's emotions are as big a factor as his physical attributes when they want to quit?

-alumno33-12,

Hello - this is an important question. Thanks for participating in Chat Day and asking this. Emotion and stress are incredibly important factors to consider in recovery - see what some of the science says about this:
, Continued Drug Use, and Relapse | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

-Ruben Baler

Do you think that the positive effects of marijuana outweigh the negative effects?

-LeF507749, Illinois

Good question, LeF507749! No, I don't. Even if someone finds that marijuana boosts their mood and relaxes them, those positive effects to my mind are outweighed in the short term by the drug's effect of dulling thinking and memory, and symptoms of irritabilty and low mood that can occur as the drug leaves their system; and in the long term by potential disruption of normal brain development and addiction. Marijuana can impair school performance and driving, and reduce life satisfaction and motivation. Nor does everyone who tries marijuana experience any positive effects. Some people experience anxiety instead of relaxation, and some have sought treatment in emergency rooms, reporting unease and shaking, anxiety, paranoia, or hallucinations, and in rare cases, extreme psychotic reactions. So I'd say, no, there is not a net benefit to using marijuana, especially for teens.

-Michele Rankin

Do you think the combination of alcoholic beverages an other drug substances is the reason our death rates increase each year?

-JE, South Carolina

Great question JE! Combining alcohol with drugs, even some prescription drugs used as directed, can cause drug interactions that are dangerous and may lead to deaths. If you go to our website or the CDC website you can look up rates of overdose deaths due to drugs or alcohol but I'm not sure that we have rates on cases involving both drugs AND alcohol. Keep an eye out for updates on our site for that information. Thanks for your question!

-Aria Crump

DO you think the number of drugs will increase over the next 5 years

-Angela-FVSU4H, Georgia

yes--many clever chemists out there... we know alot about the chemical structure of addictive drugs, so people can play around with those and keep coming up with new drugs with unknown risks, as long as there's a demand for them.

-Susan Weiss

do you think the number of drugs will increase over the next 5 years?

-nyla-fvsu4h, Georgia

Hey Nyla- This is an interesting question! Something we've noticed recently about the drug supply is that there are many more illegal synthetic (or human-made) drugs than ever before, and new versions with slight tweaks to the chemical structure are popping up all the time. So yes, the number of drugs does seem to be increasing.

-Emily Einstein

Do you think weed should by legalized across the U.S.?

-frog, Oregon

Hi frog -- Thanks for the question. Since the legalization of marijuana will lead to increased use and the problems that go along with that, NIDA does not support legalization. For more information on the negative effects see our booklet, Marijuana: Facts for Teens: www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens/letter-to-teens

-Dave Thomas

do you work with all types of drugs or does your group focus on a certain type?

-theboyz, Illinois

Dear theboyz, thanks for asking! At the National Institute on Drug Abuse, we support research on the causes and consequences of drug use overall. This includes tobacco, anabolic steroids, inhalants, pills, cannabis (marijuana), cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids (like painkillers and heroin), hallucinogens and many other substances. Another agency at the National Institutes of Health works with alcohol--the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. For more infomation about these agencies, see: https://www.drugabuse.gov/ and https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/

-Wilson Compton

do Zoloft and alcohol interact in the body?

-aidan, Illinois

Yes they can! Zoloft and alcohol are both drugs, and taking drugs together can increase the risk of negative consequences. Since both Zoloft (sertraline) and alcohol affect the brain, there is a risk of greater side effects like dizziness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, headache, nausea and diarrhea! Alcohol should be avoided in people that take Zoloft.

Learn more about harmful interactions between alcohol and medicines here: https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Medicine/medicine.htm

-Vijay Ramchandani

Doctor Einstein any relation to Einstien himself

-MS, Illinois

:) my family did come to America from the same part of Germany, but we would be distant relatives at most

-Emily Einstein

Does a mothers cocaine addiction affect the unborn children?

-AB, New Hampshire

Hi, when a pregnant woman uses any substance, including cocaine, this can have harmful effects on the baby. All drug and alcohol use should be avoided when pregnant.

-Emily Jones

Does Alcohol contain THC?

-abauers, Michigan

Nope. not unless someone adds it to the drink. Alcohol is a very small molecule and a universal solvent. .See NIAAA's Rethinking Drinking web site for a ton of great info about alcohol and its effects.

-George Koob

Does alcohol helps you to get warmer?

-elrabidd,

Hi,
That is a good question! Alcohol creates the feeling of warmth because it causes the blood vessels under the skin to dilate or expand. However, this is a temporary effect - alcohol does not increase the body temperature. In fact, alcohol can decrease the body's temperature casuing hypothermia which can be dangerous!
- Vijay

-Vijay Ramchandani

Does alcohol make you live longer

-Trumps123, Maryland

We used to think that small amounts of alcohol could prolong someone's life, mostly by reducing the chances that they have heart attacks, but now we're not sure! The safest choice is not to drink.

-George Koob

Does alcohol or drugs affect women's menstruation?

-SIdV,

Yes, repeated alcohol and/or drug use can disrupt the menstrual cycle.

-Bethany Deeds

does alcohol stunt your growth?

-Ben, Maryland

Definitely! If a woman drinks alcohol while she is pregnant, it can do lots of damage to the developing fetus. During the teenage years, drinking alcohol can stunt a person's emotional growth and the growth of the brain.

-George Koob

Does all vape or dab pens contain nicotine?

-Imanidp, North Carolina

Hi Imandip -
Most vapes contain nicotine. Because e-cigarettes were not regulated until recently, labels that say they are nicotine-free may not be accurate. And just because an e-cigarette might not have nicotine doesn't mean it is safe. 

-Shwe Gyaw

Does any drug amplify or make you have stronger emotions?

-lll,

Hi III
Many drugs can affect your mood or behaviors in that direction, like amplifying your emotions. The ones that are more associated with this effect are MJ, Ecstasy, and other psychedelic drugs.
thanks for a great question.
Be smart and stay healthy.

-Ruben Baler

does anyone think there will ever be a time when we rid of drugs completely?

-carsonsc , South Carolina

Great question, carsonsc! Some drugs, like fentanyl and other opioids, are used medically, so it is not likely that they will ever disappear from the earth totally. Some people, like people in the last days of their lives with serious illnesses like cancer, need the pain relief that strong opioids bring. But, we can do a lot to reduce misuse of these drugs by educating people about the dangers of drug addiction. Set a good example for your friends by prioritizing your health and staying drug-free! The teen brain is not totally developed, and since your brain is still growing, drugs can be especially harmful.

-Emily Jones

Does beginning to drink alcohol at a younger age lead to an alcohol addiction in the future?

-sco507873, Illinois

Hi sco507873,
Yes, research has shown consistently that starting to drink at an earlier age - before age 21 - increases the risk of developing alcohol problems in the future. The harmful effects of alcohol on our developing brains are well known, and some of the changes caused by alcohol on our brain structure and funtion can lead alcohol use disorder down the road. Check these resources for more info--https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/special-populations-co-occurrin....

Thanks for a great question!
- Vijay.

-Vijay Ramchandani

Does caffeine count as a additive drug?

-Charlie Hartman, California

Sort of, but probably low risk relative to other drugs, except at high doses when people can experience heart or blood pressure problems. Someone who uses caffeine regularly may experience headaches when they stop (but those disappear within a few days). We also don't know enough about how (or whether) caffeine exposure in teens affects their brain development.

-Susan Weiss

does catnip like weed for cats?

-DM, New Hampshire

it is for my 3 cats! (except they eat it and roll around in it instead of smoking)

-Susan Weiss

Does cigarette smoke give you cancer?

-Jimmy John Jr, Illinois

Hi Jimmy John Jr,
Cigarette smoke contains a toxic mix of 7,000+ chemicals, including more than 70 that can cause cancer. In fact every cigarette smoked increases the risk for cancer.
Find out more facts about cancer and smoking by visiting: https://teen.smokefree.gov/

-Suzanne Lim

Does Coca Cola have trace amounts of cocaine in it?

-Superdood, Illinois

Hi superdood.
It used to in the olden days but not any longer

-Emily Einstein

does doing drugs make my pp smaller

-duude, Illinois

Hi duude
In some cases, yes. For example, using anabolic steroids during your teenage years, before your growth spurt, can stunt your growth and leave you with a shorter height.
not good.

-Aaron White