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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What are the most common drugs used?

-babymishell,

The most common drugs used in the US are alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.

-Nicolette Borek

what are the most commonly abused antidepressents ?

-skaggsk,

Antidepressants do not cause the same kinds of effects in the brain as drugs like marijuana and cocaine. For that reason, they are not typically abused.

-Kevin Conway

what are the nick names of marijuana

-juan,

Pot, ganja, weed, grass, and many others. For more information about marijuana, go to https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana

-Eve Reider

what are the other names for cocaine?

-aniah,

nose candy, brain tabasco, blow, flake, coke, "C", snow .You can google slang terms for cocaine and come up with a lot of names. For more information, click on "Cocaine" on NIDA's website:
http://www.drugabuse.gov

-Frank Vocci

what are the other names for cocaine?

-aniah,

nose candy, brain tabasco, blow, flake, coke, "C", snow .You can google slang terms for cocaine and come up with a lot of names. For more information, click on "Cocaine" on NIDA's website: http://www.drugabuse.gov

-Frank Vocci

What are the possitive effects of steriods on a young devolping adolscent male

-bmdahmen,

That is an interesting question. You probably already know that your body produces a variety of steroids that help to regulate your growth, and help to maintain balance in your body (water regulation, stress control, suppression of the immune system). Adolescent males need a certain amount of testosterone to help them achieve their full adult height and the right proportion of fat and muscle, but a little goes a long way, and adding more does not add to those normal physiological functions. Adding more, as athletes tend to do, in large amounts has a number of harmful effects, such as possibly stunting your growth because of the hormone's actions on the growth plates in your legs, and suppression of your own natural production of testosterone. Many of the effects of steroids are not reversible. For example, the effect of steroids on growth is not reversible. If you want to know more about steroid abuse, go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/steroids-anabolic

-Nancy Pilotte

What are the potential risks of excessive amounts of caffeine?

-StarCraft,

excessive caffeine can lead to restlessness and insomnia. if you have heart problems it could make them worse. otherwise there is no evidence that it is per se harmful to your brain

-Nora Volkow

what do steroids do to your body?

-ItsChrisCrocker,

Steroids are actually human-made substances related to male sex hormones. As you probably know, some athletes abuse anabolic steroids to enhance performance. Steroid abuse disrupts the normal production of hormones in the body,and can lead to reduced sperm production and shrinking of the testicles. Other changes include male-pattern baldness and breast development in men-(Yuck!).In the female body, anabolic steroids cause masculinization. This means that females will experience decreases in body fat, coarsening of the skin,and deepening of the voice. Women may also experience excessive growth of body hair(chest, chin, back, etc.) and lose the hair on their head. Examples of other effects are increase of the risk of blood clots and damage to heart muscle. Steroid abuse has also been associated with liver tumors and a rare condition called peliosis hepatis, in which blood-filled cysts form in the liver. Both the tumors and the cysts can rupture, causing internal bleeding.Most important, with continued steroid use, some of these effects become irreversible. If you want to know more about steroid abuse, go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/steroids-anabolic.

-David Shurtleff

what do you think science is?

-md9098,

science is a method used to extract objective information to help understand a process in nature

-Nora Volkow

what does adderall do to you

-needs to know,

Adderall is a brand name for amphetamine. Amphetamine is a stimulant, but it has different effects depending on whether you have a medical disorder or not. Doctors prescribe Adderall to people diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Adderall helps ADHD patients focus and not get distracted, But when a person who doesn't have ADHD takes Adderall, they feel "high" and stimulated, which can lead to them taking Adderall again just for fun, which puts them on the pathway to addiction. You can find out more about that at: http://www.drugabuse.gov/ and "The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/

-Steve Grant

What does addiction feel like? Does other people know you are using by how you look?

-S3MAreso.stu,

addiction feels bad, you want to control your behavior but you can't. not everyone can tell when a person is addicted and may need help and may not be able to tell by looking.For more on treatment and where you can find it, you can call the go to the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP or go to their website at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov

-Nora Volkow

What does anabolic mean? Like steroids?

-Matty B=),

"Anabolic" is usually used in the context of steroids--anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances related to male sex hormones. The term "anabolic" means that it induces muscle growth.To learn more about anabolic steroids, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Steroids/AnabolicSteroids.html.

-Steve Gust

What does crack do to you?

-HOMO,

Crack is cocaine that has been processed from cocaine hydrochloride to a free base for smoking.Crack cocaine is addictive and can make people who use it feel euphoric and energetic.It can also result in serious health effects such as heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, and seizures. Large doses can cause bizarre and violent behavior. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter. --not good.For more information about cocaine, visit
http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Cocaine/Cocaine.html

-David Shurtleff

What does crack do to you?

-HOMO,

Crack is cocaine that has been processed from cocaine hydrochloride to a free base for smoking.Crack cocaine is addictive and can make people who use it feel euphoric and energetic.It can also result in serious health effects such as heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, and seizures. Large doses can cause bizarre and violent behavior. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter. --not good.For more information about cocaine, visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Cocaine/Cocaine.html.

-David Shurtleff

what does crystal meth do to you?

-britnimichne,

Crystal meth is another name for methamphetamine. It is a drug that increases wakefulness and physical activity, and decreases appetite. Chronic, long-term use can lead to psychotic behavior, hallucinations, and stroke. Like other drugs of abuse, methamphetamine produces a sense of euphoria by increasing the release of dopamine in the brain's reward centers, which leads to addiction and need for the drug.

-David Shurtleff

What does crystal meth do to your body?

-MiddleSchoolTetra,

Meth does a lot of things to your body as well as your brain. Your heart and breathing rates and blood pressure go up. Meth acts like adrenalin, the hormone that makes you feel the way you do when you're scared or highly stressed--and the effects last for hours. That's not good!You can find out more about that at:
http://www.drugabuse.gov/

-Steve Grant

What does crystal meth do to your body?

-MiddleSchoolTetra,

Meth does a lot of things to your body as well as your brain. Your heart and breathing rates and blood pressure go up. Meth acts like adrenalin, the hormone that makes you feel the way you do when you're scared or highly stressed--and the effects last for hours. That's not good!You can find out more about that at: http://www.drugabuse.gov/

-Steve Grant

what are the effects of crack and cocaine on the human body?

-Pi0trek K4hn,

Good question. Crack and cocaine are stimulants, so they have particular effects on the body and brain. Physical effects of cocaine use include constricted blood vessels and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Users may also experience feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. Evidence suggests that users who smoke or inject cocaine may be at even greater risk of causing harm to themselves than those who snort the substance. For example, cocaine smokers also suffer from acute respiratory problems including coughing, shortness of breath, and severe chest pains with lung trauma and bleeding. A user who injects cocaine is at risk of transmitting or acquiring diseases if needles or other injection equipment are shared. Cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug and compulsive cocaine use seems to develop more rapidly when the substance is smoked rather than snorted. A tolerance to the cocaine high may be developed and many addicts report that they fail to achieve as much pleasure as they did from their first cocaine exposure. Smoking crack delivers large quantities of the drug to the lungs, producing effects comparable to intravenous injection. These effects are felt almost immediately after smoking, are very intense, but do not last long. For example, the high from smoking cocaine may last from 5 to 10 minutes. The high from snorting can last for 15 to 20 minutes. For more information, please visit: http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Cocaine/Cocaine.html.

-Joe Frascella

What are the effects of crystal meth?

-Can-Can, Maryland

Crystal meth can increase attention, decrease fatigue, decrease appetite, increase breathing, increase heart rate, cause irregular heart beats, causes paranoia and hallucinations, memory loss, aggressive or violent behavior, mood disturbances, severe dental problems, and addiction.

-Gaya Dowling

What can the drug oxicontent do to the body?

-Mayor Manson,

oxycontin is an opiate drug used to treat pain but it acts on the same proteins that heroin does so it can produce addiction and can also like heroin lead to death from overdose

-Nora Volkow

What causes people to be affected differntly???? I know age is a factor, but what else??????

-SEAMANkurczewski,

You are right, age is a factor! There are other things, too. In general,an individual's response to a drug can vary by his or her biology(genetic makeup, for example), personal history (such as prior us of drugs or alcohol), and even family history of addiction. So,multiple reasons can influence the different effects people experience-- and as scientists we're learning more about this every day. To learn more, check out "The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/

-Joni Rutter

what causes the adiction

-kw5332,

Part of what causes addiction is that drugs increase the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. Dopamine tells the brain that something important has happened and that the brain needs to pay attention and learn more about what just happened. So the more you use drugs, the more the brain focuses on them,until they become the thing you care most about. And that is addiction. To learn more, check out "The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/

-Steve Grant

what chemicals are in shrooms? how is it harmful and what are the long term effects?

-cait,

Great question! The potent hallucinogenic chemical in "shrooms" is psilocybin. It's a hallucinogenic substance obtained from certain types of mushrooms that are native to tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico, and the United States. You might find it interesting to know that the use of psilocybin is associated with negative physical and psychological consequences. The physical effects, which appear within 20 minutes of ingestion and last approximately 6 hours, include nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, drowsiness, and lack of coordination. The psychological side effects of psilocybin use include hallucinations and an inability to tell fantasy from reality. Panic reactions and psychosis also may occur, particularly if a user ingests a large dose. Another risk associated with ingestion of psilocybin, individuals who abuse psilocybin mushrooms also risk poisoning if one of the many varieties of poisonous mushrooms is incorrectly identified as a psilocybin mushroom. While there is no evidence that users may become physically dependent on psilocybin, tolerance for the drug does develop when it is taken continuously over a short period of time. 

-Joe Frascella

What chemicals does tobbaco chewing gum have?

-dj jay,

It sounds like you are talking about nicotine gum that is used to help people quit smoking. Because it has nicotine, which is the main chemical in cigarette smoke that is addicting, it makes it easier for people to quit smoking.For more information on tobacco, visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/researchreports/nicotine/nicotine.html.

-Gaya Dowling

What do drugs do to you

-thompsonmi,

All drugs of abuse target the brain's reward system by flooding it with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. Dopamine is released when you do something pleasurable such as eat ice cream for example, but drugs cause a much more powerful release. This"overstimulation" of this dopamine system produces the euphoric effects sought by people who abuse drugs and can create an overwhelming urge to repeat the behavior.Our brains are wired to ensure that we will repeat life-sustaining activities by associating those activities with pleasure or reward. Whenever this reward circuit is activated, the brain notes that something important is happening that needs to be remembered, and teaches us to do it again and again, without thinking about it. Because drugs of abuse stimulate the same circuit, we learn to abuse drugs in the same way. Unfortunately, this can lead to drug addiction, which can affect your life in negative ways including loss of friend and family relationships, loss of job, poor performance in school.To learn more, check out "The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/.

-David Shurtleff

what do drugs do to your brain

-ruthie,

The simple answer is that drugs of abuse have their main effects on the brain. Drugs are chemicals that can tap into the brain's communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. This interaction between drugs and the brain is what sets up the potential for abuse and addiction. And although different drugs can have different effects on the brain, most can disrupt motivation, sensitivity to natural rewards or pleasures, and control over behavior. If you would like to learn more on the topic of addiction, please check out "The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/.

-Barry Hoffer

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