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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Between cigars and cigarettes which is more dangerous?

-BTR0077,

Hey there BTR 0077 - Both cigarettes and cigars burn tobacco, and the smoke is inhaled. Even though some people who smoke cigars say they are safer because the smoke only goes into their mouths and is not inhaled to their lungs, the smoke from cigars is just as harmful as cigarette smoke. The thousands of chemicals from cigarette or cigar smoke are absorbed into the body and can cause nicotine addiction, lung disease, heart disease, or have other harmful effects throughout the body. For more info: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cigarettes-other-tobacc...

-Kevin Walton

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

-ML,

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:https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-marijuana

-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: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/synthetic-cathinones-bath-salts

-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

can thc cartridges be laced with other drugs/chemicals other than just weed?

-.., Illinois

Good question! The aerosol, also called vapor, that is produced by vaping devices is really made of the specific chemicals in the liquid, such as propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, THC, chemical flavorings, and others. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to tell what chemicals are in the vapor produced by a particular device/liquid and surveys show that many teens don't know what chemicals are in their vaping device. Because vaping devices are so new, we still don't know what effects these chemicals have on health. Best to stay away from them!

-Marsha Lopez

can topical drugs be addictive?

-bear, Oregon

Hello bear,
The only abused drugs that i can think of the top of my head can been applied (for purposes other than recreational) are anabolic steroid and cannabis gels. I don't thing these formulations would be particularly addictive.
hope this helps

-Mary Rooney

Can u drink at the age of 18 because, a lot of countries allow drinking at the age of 18.

-Big Chungus, Illinois

Hello Big Chungus!
In the US, the legal age for drinking is 21. Our brains continue to develop from our childhood to young adulthood. The harmful effects of alcohol on the brains of kids and teenagers (including 18 year olds) 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. Check out our website on Underage Drinking for more information.
Hope this helps!
- Vijay

-Vijay Ramchandani

can u get high from smoking grass?

-FN, Oregon

Check this out: Marijuana: Facts for Teens booklet: www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens/letter-to-teens

-Ruben Baler

can u get high off of prozac aka fluoxitine

-meemee sugar, Oregon

No.

-Ruben Baler

can u od on the nic

-kermit the frog, Illinois

While it is harder to accidently overdose with nicotine than other drugs like heroin, it is possible. Nicotine is actually very poisonous and can result in death if consumed in very high amounts. Children are most at risk of nicotine poisoning through eating cigarettes or nicotine-containing products, or drinking or touching liquid nicotine. The CDC says 50 to 60 milligrams of nicotine is a deadly dose for an adult who weighs about 150 pounds. But some research suggests a lethal amount may be a lot higher.

-Kurt Rasmussen

can u overdoes on weed

-duude, Illinois

Hi duude, Yes-- you can overdose on weed. You could have a terrible experience and end up in the emergency room. But you will probably not die from the overdose. When people say "you can't overdose on weed," they really mean you can't FATALLY overdose. Great question!

-Roger Little

can u overdose on melatonin

-guinea pig!, Oregon

Hello,

An overdose occurs when a person uses enough of the drug to produce life-threatening symptoms or death. Melatonin appears to be safe when used short-term, but the lack of long-term studies means we don't know if it's safe for extended use. Also, taking more than the recommended or prescribed dose should be avoided and always discussed with your doctor.

For more information, check out https://nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin.

-Tisha Wiley

Can u pass out because of a drug'

-lll,

Hi III
Of course, have you ever seen a drunk person sleeping it off in a puddle of vomit? how about an opioid overdose victim?
be smart. be safe

-Ruben Baler

Can using drugs affect your cardiovascular health?

-ReeseK, Illinois

Hello ReeseK! Yes, absolutely. There are clear cardio-vascular effects on your health with stimulants like cocaine, meth and speed. Check out our health effects chart for a listing of short- and long-term health effects of a number of drugs of abuse: http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs/health-effects

-Katia Howlett

Can using some drugs lead to mental conditions like ADHD?

-fer507452, Illinois

For the most part, illicit drugs do not usually cause mental illnesses. Some drugs can cause attention problems, but usually just when you are taking them. That said, exposure to drugs, especially early in life, can have long-term consequences on the development of the brain, raising your risk for ADHD and other brain disorders.

-Joshua Gordon

can using too many drugs or consume too much alcohol create a mental disorder?

-AP, California

Yes--alcohol and drugs are often linked with mental disorders, although sometimes its hard to know which came first. And Also, if the addiction is treated sometimes the mental disorder also improves. Alcohol is linked to depression, marijuana--to psychosis, especially in someone who as a genetic vulnerability.

-Steve Gust

Can vaping affect the health of your future offspring?

-Brendan, Illinois

Thanks for the question, Brendan. Because vape products are so new, there's still so much we don't know about vaping, particularly how it affects health in the long-term. We do know that every drug a pregnant woman takes also reaches her developing baby. This includes nicotine which is in many vape products. The CDC cautions that e-cigarettes and other products containing nicotine are not safe for use during pregnancy. Nicotine can damage a developing baby's brain and lungs and the flavorings in e-cigarettes may be harmful to the developing offspring as well.

-Marsha Lopez

Can Vaping Cause Cancer or other disease in the body?

-EG, Illinois

B: Hi there - this is a great question - and your friend is lucky that you are concerned. The best thing you can start with is to listen to him. Sometimes people don't even realize they are acting differently, and just saying something like "you seem like you have been kind of sad lately" might help give your friend permission to talk about it. You can then encourage him - and offer to help him connect with a trusted adult so that he can begin to get help. Here is some information that may be helpful: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/teen-depression/index.shtml...

-Jinhee Lee

can vaping cause lung cancer? if so what in it causes it versus smoking cigarettes?

-big chungus, Illinois

Hi, big chungus - Many vaping liquids contain nicotine, which is one of the most addictive substances. Vaping may cause some people to start using regular cigarettes, which can then cause lung cancer. So, while vaping may not expose you to all of the same chemicals that cigarettes do, it's still not safe. In addition, the contents in vaping devices are not regulated, so it's impossible for a user to know what he or she is vaping. The liquid could contain a combination of propylene glycol, glycerin, chemical flavorings, and/or other chemicals in addition to nicotine. We are still learning about the long-term effects of vaping. For more information, see: Bottom line about e-cigarettes (fact sheet): https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/pdfs/Electron...

-Shwe Gyaw

can vaping cause lung cancer? if so, how is it different from lung cancer that you get from smoking cigarettes?

-keyboard, Illinois

Hi, keyboard - Many vaping liquids contain nicotine, which is one of the most addictive substances. Vaping may cause some people to start using regular cigarettes, which can then cause lung cancer. So, while vaping may not expose you to all of the same chemicals that cigarettes do, it's still not safe. In addition, the contents in vaping devices are not regulated, so it's impossible for a user to know what he or she is vaping. The liquid could contain a combination of propylene glycol, glycerin, chemical flavorings, and/or other chemicals in addition to nicotine. We are still learning about the long-term effects of vaping. For more information, see: Bottom line about e-cigarettes (fact sheet): https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/pdfs/Electron...

-Heather Kimmel

can vaping effect a pregnant woman

-vic, Illinois

Hi vic,

I'm guessing that you are wondering if vaping in pregnancy can harm the baby. We don't have research on that yet in humans (the link above talks about a study in mice), but we have concern that could happen because we do know that smoking during pregnency can cause harm to baby and to the develoing child, and most vaping products contain nicotine and would thus pose similar risks. You can read about it here: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes/what-are-risks-smoking-during-pregnancy. We also know that the sooner smoking stops in pregnancy, the better for baby. It's never too late to quit!

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Can vaping every day cause the same damage as chronic smoking?

-tuRrbOtAstic, Illinois

Thank you for joining us, tuRrbOtAstic! While we are still learning about the long-term effects of vaping, we know that regular vaping 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. Exposure to drugs, including nicotine, can affect brain development and contribute to a range of problems later in life. 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! For more information, see: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes.

-Dave Thomas

can vaping harm your brain

-mschmaus11, Montana

Any drug that you may vape is going to affect your brain the same as smoking or other ways of consuming drugs. Vaping is promoted as being less harmful because the material is heated to the point of evaporation, which is lower than the temperature for combustion, which produces a number of harmful chemicals. However, many vape pens use solvents like propylene glycol, which is used in anti-freeze for cars. The long-term effects of inhaling propylene glycol are not established. Whether you are vaping or smoking, you are intending to ingest a drug. The most common drugs that are vaped are nicotine and marijuana. Vaping may be marginally better than smoking combustible materials, but you are still liable for the addictive and other harmful effects of the drugs you are vaping.

-Shwe Gyaw