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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How can u be sure that a drug doesnt have Fentinal dded in it?


Hi III from Instituto Asunción Águilas. Thanks for your question. Fentanyl is extremely dangerous and a contributing factor to many drug overdose deaths. There is no way to be sure that an illicit drug does not have fentanyl. The safest way to protect yourself is not to use illicit drugs. This link shares more information on Fentanyl:

-Marsha Lopez

How can u know if someone is doing drugs? (like the symptons)


That's a really good question and thanks for asking and caring. Different people have different symptoms depending on the drug they've used. The important thing is to notice if they are behaving differently and if you feel comfortable ask them if they are ok. It's best to talk to a teacher or parent to make sure the person gets the help they need. Here's a link on guidance for helping.

-Michele Rankin

how can vaping on a regular basis affect a person's everyday actions and/or thought processes? when will we know more about long term affects?

-geo507685, Illinois

Thank you for such a great question, geo507685! Vaping on a regular basis increases that person's exposure to nicotine. Nicotine is addictive, so when someone becomes addicted to nicotine, they will seek it out even if it interferes with their normal activities. Vaping, particularly in kids, can lead to the use of regular tobacco products, like cigarettes, which are very harmful. In addition, exposing the developing brain to drugs, including nicotine, can cause changes in the brain that then lead to the use of other drugs. Many researchers are working to understand the long-term effects of vaping and exposure to nicotine. For more information, see:

-Heather Kimmel

how can we avoid when people offers us drugs?


Hey Hey Kei. Avoid by saying no. Walk away. Say 'I don't do that.' You are responsible for your own choices and you don't have to do drugs just because they are offered. Choose words that feel comfortable for you, but it's okay to make your own decisions and leave a situation where you are feeling uncomfortable or pressured. Remember, you don't have to justify taking care of your health to anyone.

-Amy Goldstein

How can we best educate young people about the risks of vaping?

-mpapa, New Jersey

Hi mpapa, Great question. Vaping has many more chemicals than people may know about, so someone who vapes exposes their body and brain to addictive nicotine, heavy metals, aldehydes and other toxic substances. Because vaping has only been around for a few years, we don't yet know the long term consequences, but we do know enough to say that these are not harmless products. For more info, check out this link about Electronic Cigarettes (E-cigarettes):

-Wilson Compton

how can we convince the JUULers to give us our bathroom back

-what the nugget, Illinois

Hey there what the nugget,

That sound frustrating! Here is my suggestion. Direct your friends and peers to visit The Real Cost website. The Real Cost was created to give you what you need to know about tobacco−facts based on science, so you, and your peers, can judge for yourself.

-Suzanne Lim

How can we prevent addictions?

-Spicy Memelord, Montana

That is such a great question! We really don't know for sure, but if people are happy and have healthy ways to cope with stress and have fun, they're much less likely to develop addictions. So it's important that we help teenagers find ways to be happy and healthy.

-George Koob

How can we put an end to this drug overdosing world. It is ridiculous.

-MO, New Hampshire

Hi MO! This is a question that keeps me awake at night. Chronic use of drugs can overtake your brain, causing a person to change their thinking and jugdment. Unfortunately, the changes in their brain caused by drugs make these people even more motivated to seek drugs. NIDA is supporting research to understand why people have a difficult time changing their behavior towards seeking drugs, and discovering interventions that will help addicted people stop using drugs.

-Roger Sorensen

how can we stop the vaping epidemic?

-E, Illinois

That's a really important question.

The best way to stop the vaping epidemic is to stop teens from ever starting and making sure they understand there are real health consequences from vaping.

Check out our website for our teen public education campaign that we call The Real Cost. It has great information aimed at the teens at greatest risk of taking up vaping.

-Mitch Zeller

how can i get high without harming myself

-wolf333, Oregon

You cannot. All drugs have side effects, adverse effects, and/or addiction liability. Learn more about how drugs affect your brain and body here:

-Emily Einstein

How can I get my brother to stop vaping? I try to tell him it's bad but he doesn't listen.

-Sparta19, New Jersey

Hi Sparta19, it is great that you want to help your brother. Vaping, and using e-cigarettes, is becoming very common. Very little is known about the long term health effects of vaping, which makes it a risky activity. We also don't know yet how the ingredients in e-cigarettes could affect someone's health--but we do know these ingredients were not developed to be inhaled. For more info about ecigs to share with your brother -

-Kevin Walton

how can I help a family member who wants to stop smoking?


Hi TH,
There are many resources available to help people quit smoking. It's great that you want to help someone quit smoking. Talking to someone about quitting can be difficult. Let them know there are immediate and long-term benefits to quitting, and what their quitting would mean to you. Offer your support and suggest they check out for quitting resources and tools.

-Emily Einstein

How can I help a friend get off drugs?

-BGCN-Nowata, Oklahoma

This is a lot to handle all on your own. Be supportive of your friend and please find an adult you can trust, like a parent, coach, counselor or teacher, and ask them for help finding treatment in your area. You can also contact the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids helpline:

-Ruben Baler

how can i help a friend with depression?

-majo l,

Hi there majo l - thanks for your question - and your friend is lucky to have you in their corner. I do have good news - the best way to treat depression is usually a combination of medication and psychosocial, or 'talk' therapies. Maybe you can help your friend connect to a trusted adult (pehaps your school counselor) to link up with a mental health professional - since they can answer any questions your friend might have about the different ways to treat depression. For more information about depression and its treatment see: In addition, you can find more tips for supporting your friend here:

-Denny Pintello

How can I help a person that is addicted to drugs, but doesn't want to go to rehab or is in denial?

-Jac, Maryland

Hello Jac,

Figuring out what to do when a friend or someone you know is having trouble with drugs or alcohol can be tricky. You want to help, but you might not know how to bring it up. You can find some tips at

-Kristen Huntley

How can i help my friends if they are drugged or drunk?


This is an important question, rsm123. It may be difficult to communicate with your friends when they are under the influence of substances. If it is an emergency situation, you should seek immediate help. Also, there are resources available that could help them understand if they have substance use problem. They may need to talk to a parent or other trusted adult who can help them address their specific issues. Here's some information that may be helpful to you. Thanks for your question!

There is a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA's teen site here:
Here is some information on how friends and family can help:
Finding treatment and recovery resources:

-Belinda Sims

How can I help my friends if they are intoxicated or drug

-Archstel , South Carolina

Hi Archstel. Your friends are lucky to have someone like you around. Caring friends matter!! If your friends are intoxicated or high the most important thing to do is to try to keep them safe. Don't let them drive or do things where they (or someone else) could get hurt. When they're not high, try to talk to your friends about getting help for their drug use. Try to get a caring and trusted adult to ask to help you. This is a hard to situation to handle on your own, and it's okay to ask for help.

-Amy Goldstein

How can I help someone to stop using marijuana?

-Anonymous, Illinois

Hi - This is a great question. I'm so glad you asked. It is important for you to help them in any way you can. Maybe that is by helping them understand the harmful effects of smoking marijuana like long terms problems with learning and memory, anxiety and smoking related cough and breathing problems. But, maybe the most important way is to help them is just by giving them encouragment and being a good friend. The fact that you're asking is awesome! Here's a link with some more information:

-Kris Bough

How can I help someone who wants to stop smoking?


Hey there TH, if you're talking about smoking cigarettes, a great resource for someone who wants to get help quitting smoking is If you're talking about marijuana, check out Marijuana: Facts for Teens booklet:

You can also help them by providing support and encouragement as they try to quit.

Be careful of vaping, though. Some people think it is less harmful than smoking, but we don't know yet if that's the case. Even more importantly, though, vaping is a tobacco product, and therefore likely contains nicotine (the addictive chemical in tobacco) among other harmful chemicals. Stay tuned -- more research on this is coming out soon!

-Heather Kimmel

How can i know if my drink is altered? How to avoid it?

-majo l,

This is popular question today!
There is no reliable way to know if someone has spiked your drink with alcohol. Sometimes, adding alcohol can change the taste or smell of the drink, but in many cases you can never be sure. One way to help prevent getting an altered drink is to not accept anything from someone you don't know or trust. Also remember, in the U.S., it is not legal for children and teenagers under 21 to drink alcohol, and in many countries, it is also illegal to serve alcohol to minors.
Hope this helps!
- Vijay

-Vijay Ramchandani

how can i know if there's drugs in my food/drink

-guinea pig!, Oregon

Drugs can be odorless, tasteless and colorless, especially when absorbed into food or drink, so it can be hard to know for sure. If you have reason to suspect that drugs have been added to the food or drink you are consuming, you should definitely avoid it. Better to be safe than sorry.

-Steve Gust

How can I not get addicted to pain pills if I have to take them?

-BGCN-Nowata, Oklahoma

Good question. Really good question! First, you do not have to take them. If you have concerns, you could explore other pain treatment options with your doctor. If you have acute pain, and just take them for a few days, you likely will not become addicted. If you need to take them for a longer period of time, work with your doctor. There are ways to minimize the risk of addiction. You and your doctor just need to be careful.

-Susan Weiss

how can i prove to my friends who smoke that weed or nicotine can be addictive and isn't good for them or their anxiety/depression?

-bear, Oregon

Hi bear - Thanks for this great question. It can be frustrating to see friends doing things that we know are harmful, especially when they try to argue that they are actually doing something to help themselves (like use drugs to self-medicate their anxiety or depression). I'm including a few resources that you can share with your friends, but I'd also recommend talking to a trusted adult in your school or in your community to discuss ways of talking to your friends. You can also help them by being a positive role model and encouraging them to participate in positive fun activities with you that don't leave room for smoking weed or nicotine (like sports, music, movies, etc.).

Marijuana: Facts for Teens booklet:

To learn more about tobacco, nicotine and e-cigs, see

-Steve Gust

How can I stop drinking alcohol?


I think it is important for people to understand the harmful effects of 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. Please read more about this at Underage drinking.
Also drinking too much alcohol can cause an overdose, which is a serious problem. Check out this fact sheet on Alcohol Overdose for more information.

If you need help stopping to drink alcohol, talk to your parents or an adult.

Hope this helps!

-Vijay Ramchandani

How can I teach my friends that vaping is not good?

-Sparta19, New Jersey

Good question. First, there's still a lot we don't know about the health risks of the vapors/flavorings themselves. But most important, the really popular vaping devices contain nicotine--which we know is addictive--meaning it can be hard to stop when you want to, and many who vape eventually go on to smoke cigarettes--and you know the dangers of that. Best to keep your brain healthy and avoid any drugs that can addict you.

-Susan Weiss

how can i tell someone is high or drunk

-chamness_a, Oregon

Hi chamness
One test you can try is making them stand on one leg or see if they can walk in a straight line
good luck

-Ruben Baler

How are cigarettes legal if it is proven to kill people?

-John, Illinois

As we mentioned, the FDA doesn't have the authority to ban tobacco products altogether. But what we do have the authority to do is educate youth on the harms associated with cigarettes. We want to prevent youth from smoking and becoming addicted to cigarettes because nearly 9 out of 10 adult daily smokers smoked their first cigarette by age 18.

-Suzanne Lim

How are drugs consumed?

-wms, Illinois

Good morning WMS, good question! People use drugs in many ways--smoking, eating, vaping, inhaling, injecting, etc--and for lots of different reasons, such as peer pressure, boredom, rebellion, curiosity, and so on. Although people know drugs are bad for them, they may still choose to take the risk, while others may not be aware of all the risks. Then, once they're hooked, it can be very difficult to stop. There is also a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA's teen site here:

-Katia Howlett

How are drugs made?

-wms, Illinois

Hello WMS,

This is a complicated question because different drugs are made in different ways. Marijuana and tobacco are plants; cocaine is extracted from plants; other drugs, like meth and LSD, are made in illegal labs, so they can be contaminated with toxic (poisonous) chemicals. But whether a drug comes from plants or is made by humans doesn't matter when it comes to its safety. Illegal drugs and many others (like prescription drugs) can be addictive and harmful; they can have effects on a person's brain or cardiovascular system, and they can increase a person's risk of some kinds of cancer. Here's more information:


-Roger Little

How are e-cigs different than cigarettes?

-gabrielam, District of Columbia

Hi, Gabrielam - Vaping and smoking are different, yet similar. Smoking involves burning tobacco and inhaling the smoke into the lungs. Vaping involves heating a liquid derived from tobacco products, and then inhaling the vapor into your lungs. Smoking can cause health effects that can be deadly. Vaping also contains some risk, including exposure to nicotine (the addictive chemical in tobaccco) and other chemicals that are vaporized during the heating process. To learn more about tobacco, nicotine and e-cigs, see

-Ruben Baler