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 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 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.

-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:

-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:

-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

are peoplee that do drugs are stupid

-JM, Montana

Hi - this is a great question. People use drugs for lots of different reasons, such as peer pressure, boredom, rebellion, curiosity, and so on. People can know drugs are bad for them, but 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. Check out one of NIDA's Drug and Health Blog posts about peer pressure here:

There is also a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA's teen site here:

-Kristen Huntley

Are plant based drugs better than chemically made drugs?

-Captain Obama , Illinois

Hi Captain Obama! Nope, nothing special about plants versus synthesized drugs. Depends on the drug and not where the drug came from.

-Suzanne Lim

Are psilocybin mushrooms really the safest drug?

-sssssssssssssss, Illinois

Hi sssssssssssss
There really are no safe drugs. It is true that psilocybin like most hallucinogens is not powerfully habit forming and, almost by definition, a non-addictive drug. It belongs to class of drugs that do not interact with the dopamine or reward (pleasure) system in the brain. However, this does not mean that it is a safe drug; psilocybin can cause nervousness, paranoia, and panic attacks. It's a bad idea to introduce any psychoactive drug in a devloping brain, its effects are really unpredictable.
Be smart and stay healthy.

-Aaron White

Are psychedelics harmful?

-shmo, Illinois

Hi shmo - I'm glad that you're thinking about this and thanks for asking. Psychedelic drugs can cause you to have terrifying thoughts, elevated stress and out of control scary feelings. You can become dizzy and have trouble sleeping. You may feel paranoid and lose control of yourself! Psychedelics, or any kind of illegial drug, can hijack your brain from working normally. Check out this fact sheet for more info:

-Kris Bough

Are some people have more risk of drugs and alcohol than others?


Great question about risk for drugs and alcohol. There are multiple factors that can increase a person's risk for using drugs and alcohol. Research has shown that some of the factors can be biological, psychological, behavioral, or environmental. Often it is not one particular factor, but we do know that early experimentation with substances can increase risk for later use. A number of prevention interventions have been developed to prevent initation of substance use and prevent those who've experimented with drugs to progress from use to misuse.

Here's a great resource that talks about what makes some more likely to use drugs:

-Belinda Sims

Are some people more at risk of addiction to drugs and alcohol than others?

-Julia, Maryland

Hello Julia,

Yes, they are. The problem is, we don't have a way to know who's at risk for having a problem with different types of drugs. All illegal drugs and many others (like prescription drugs) have the potential for addiction and they can all alter the way your brain functions -- which puts you at risk of injury or injuring others. Check out this information about addiction and the brain:


-Roger Little

Can an overdose of drugs lead to suicide?

-chamness_a, Oregon

Illicit drugs raise the risk of suicide, and it doesn't take an overdose for this to happen. More than half of people who die by suicide have alcohol or drugs in their blood at the time of death! If you are already depressed or having suicidal thoughts, get help and don't use drugs or alcohol. If you have suicidal thoughts while taking a drug, stop taking the drug, and get help right away from a friend or trusted adult. People having suicidal thoughts can also get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime, 24/7 (you'll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area).

-Joshua Gordon


-chamness_a, Oregon

Yes, anybody can fall into peer pressure, especially teens who are more vulnerable to peer influences. It is important to have friends and peers who support your healthy behavior, especially when others pressure you into unhealthy behaviors.

-Carlos Blanco

can anyone fall into peer pressure?

-chamness_a, Oregon

Yes, anybody can fall into peer pressure, especially teens who are more vulnerable to peer influences. It is important to have friends and peers who support your healthy behavior, especially when others pressure you into unhealthy behaviors.

-Carlos Blanco

Can babies get addicted to drugs?


Hey Rag!
No, not really. Babies cannot get addicted. Addiction is compulsive use despite harm. Babies to not compulsively use drugs. However, if babies are born to mothers that use opioids, they can be born with dependence on opioids, meaning they will go through physical withdraw without opioids. This is a very sad situation, and we are trying to find ways to help these babies.

-Dave Thomas

Can being fat be somehow related to adictions?

-El Chamaco,

Hi Chamaco
such a great question. I have even published several papers that explore the overlaps between obesity and addiction. they are not the same but they do have similarities. If this connection worries you, you should consult your primary physician who would be in the best position to diagnose and treat any mental or physical disorder.
Thanks for the interest and best luck to you.

-Ruben Baler

can certain drugs enhance human abilities

-default skin, Illinois

Hi default
great question. the answer is yes. But as you know, there is no free lunch. Anabolic steroids, for example, can shorten the recovery time between training sessions, but they can also stunt your growth and shrink your testicles. Some stimulants may allow you to cram for an exam but they will also reduce your creativity. So, it is important to become informed and ask the right questions.
Thanks for your interest
Use your superpower, choose smartly.

-Ruben Baler

can cigarettes cause popcorn lung too?

-JS, Illinois

Thank you for joining us, James!. "Popcorn lung" is another name for a disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, which makes you cough and feel short of breath. Workers at a popcorn factory were found to have this disease more than other people, and it turned out that the cause was a chemical called diacetyl. This chemical is also present in many vaping liquids, which is a cause for concern. The contents in vaping devices are not regulated, so it's impossible for a user to know what he or she is vaping. Although this chemical is also present in cigarette smoke, it's not clear whether it can cause popcorn lung, though cigarette smoke has been linked to COPD and lung cancer. Check out these resources on tobacco:

-Dave Thomas

Can a person's mental and physical state of mind change because of drug abuse?

-Chili's, Illinois

Yes, for sure! It is common for people who abuse alcohol and other drugs to become depressed, anxious, and hyper focused on getting and using the drugs. It is not a fun way to live.

-George Koob

Can alcohol actually cause memory loss?

-Icarus, Illinois

Yes. Alcohol intoxication at a high dose can block the laying down of memories of what transpired while intoxicated. That is called a blackout. Chronic moderate to severe alcohol use disorder, particularly with nutritional deficiences, can permanently impair the ability to consolidate new memories. This is called Wernickes/Korsakoff's disorder. We do not know if alcohol facilitates normal aging dementias.

-George Koob

Can alcohol take years off your life?

-e, Illinois

Yes it can! Long-term alcohol misuse has been shown to decrease life expectancy. Alcohol has many harmful effects (see Alcohol Effects on the Body) that can shorten a person's life-span.

-Vijay Ramchandani

can sniffing natural products like glue give you and instant rush and if so will it really damage your body?

-Aybrian-FVSU4H, Georgia

Hi Aybrian,
Yes, definately! Sniffing glue to the point where you get a rush, means your brain is not getting enough oxygen. Your brain needs lots of oxygen. And a lack of oxygen can lead to brain damage.

-Dave Thomas

can someone become addicted to marijuana after trying it one time


Hi ML! While this seems unlikely, marijuana use can cause other side effects that are equally serious.There are reports of marijuana users seeking treatment in emergency rooms, reporting unease and shaking, anxiety, paranoia, or hallucinations, and in rare cases, extreme psychotic reactions. Marijuana use can also increase risks for accidents and injuries.

-Michele Rankin

can someone get arrested for heroine? asking for a friend.

-applesaucetoast, Illinois

Absolutely. Heroin is an illegal drug, and a very harmful one at that!

But getting arrested isn't really the worst thing that can happen to you when you use heroin. Much of the heroin AND prescription opioids (e.g., Oxycontin, Percocet, etc.) that people buy on the street are laced with a powerful drug called fentanyl. Fentanyl, even in very small doses, can be deadly. Fentanyl is sadly very common in the drug supply right now, and people usually don't even know that's what they are getting. I beg your friend not to risk their life.

-Roger Little

can someone get high if some one near them is smoking marijuana?

-Keira H, Michigan

Hi Keira,
Generally being near someone who is smoking marijuana can be annoying and disturbing because the smoke is bothersome. But it rarely causes someone to get high, unless it is a really small space with a lot of smoke. Here's some information about secondhand marijuana exposure that you may find helpful:

-Wilson Compton

can someone please explain bath salts for my friend who chooses to stay anonymous

-dash, Illinois

Hello Dash,
Bath salts are chemicals related to cathinones which are found in a plant that grows in Africa. These may be mixed with other chemicals and produce different effects on the user. These can be dangerous since they are mixed with other drugs/chemicals. You can find more information here:

-Steve Grant

Can stores limit people from buying too much alcohol? If so, when can they do this?

-Kai, Maryland

There might not be limits to how much someone can purchase at a liquor store, but there are limits to how much someone can buy at a restaurant or bar. Specifically, servers are trained to stop serving patrons if they appear to be intoxicated.

-Steve Grant

Can substance abuse cause depression, anxiety, or any other form of mental illness...Other than addiction?

-Spicy Memelord, Montana

Tricky question. For the most part, illicit drugs do not usually cause mental illnesses. However, illicit drugs can reveal or unmask illnesses. For example, someone may not know they have depression or bipolar disorder until they have a strong reaction to a drug. Also, there is some evidence that smoking marijuana, especially when you're a child or teenager, can raise the risk of developing schizophrenia -- a very serious mental illness. We're not 100% sure about this connection but the data so far are concerning.

-Joshua Gordon