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.

Download Full Year

Do they have more drugs in middle school or high school?

-Kierra,

More high schoolers report using drugs than middle schoolers. For the latest stats on drug abuse in 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, check out NIDA's Monitoring the Future survey at http://www.drugabuse.gov/Infofacts/HSYouthtrends.html

-Nicolette Borek

Do you find that different areas of the US use different types of drugs more than others?

-jabuller,

Absolutely! Drug use varies a lot in the different states and regions. For example, methamphetamine is common in Hawaii, the west and in rural areas but not so common in the northeast, especially in urban areas. This is shown in data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health: For youths aged 12 to 17, rates of past year methamphetamine use were among the highest in South Dakota (2.3%), Montana (2.2%), North Dakota (1.6%) and Wyoming (1.6%). Methamphetamine use was the lowest among youth in the District of Columbia (0.1%), New York (0.2%), and Maryland (0.2%). Young adults aged 18 to 25 were the most likely to use methamphetamines in the past year. For adults aged 18 to 25, rates of past year methamphetamine use were among the highest in Wyoming (4.6%), Arkansas (4.4%), Minnesota (3.8%) and Nevada (3.8%). Methamphetamine use was the lowest among young adults in New York (0.3%), Connecticut (0.4%), and Vermont (0.4%). If you are interested in learning more about the drug use in each state, you can learn more by visiting: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/population-data-nsduh

-Wilson Compton

do you know why cocane affects peoles hearts

-Bush,

because it decreases the blood flow to the heart so it can produce a heart attack. it also can make the heart contract abnormally which can kill them by an arrhythmia

-Nora Volkow

Does a drug affect differently to different people?

-Nicole,

This is a great question! Drugs, such as stimulants, tend to affect people the same in general ways. That is, they result in specific brain changes resulting in the high and rewarding effects of drugs. However, different people respond differently to these specific brain changes. For some, the resulting feeling can be so intense and positive, that the individual is "driven" to take the drug again and again, which can lead to addiction. For others, these brain changes may not be as intense and thus the potential to abuse the drug would be much less.There is a lot we still don't know about who becomes addicted, why, and after how much drug exposure. We do know that each person is different, so it's a little like playing "Russian Roulette" if you choose to use drugs. But, if you do, the earlier you stop, the more likely you will be to avoid addiction and the harmful brain changes that lead to it. For more information, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/addiction.html.

-Joe Frascella

Does a person have to go to rehab or to a therapy type of class when they are addicted to an illegal drug?

-Paige,

if a person who is addicted and wants to stop taking drugs it will help them to get treatment, however some people are able to stop by themselves with the help of friends or relatives. Others have physicians help them. 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

Does Marijuana really stunt your growth?

-BoBo,

I'm really short, but I have never used marijuana. I don't think it does stunt your growth, but there are worse harmful effects of marijuana, for example it can impair your ability to form memories and recall events. It can also decrease your reaction time, and cause delusions and hallucinations that can be dangerous.For more information about marijuana, go to http://www.marijuana-info.org/

-Joni Rutter

Does Marijuanna Effect driving?

-Meow mix,

most definitely, Your ability to drive safely is one of the first things to go when somebody is high on marijuana. for more information, http://www.drugabuse.gov/Infofacts/driving.html

-Barry Hoffer

Does one need rehab if they only use drugs once in a while?

-rae,

Maybe not. But the determination should be made by a qualified professional. You should see your doctor. He won't tell your parents why you went.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

-Frank Vocci

Does rehab really help?

-*.....breanna....*,

Yes, rehab can help. Of course, the word rehab can refer to many different things. If a person has a drug problem, they should look into different treatment options, and choose treatment programs or providers that have good success rates. But the bottom line is that there are many forms of treatment -involving behavioral interventions, and sometimes involving medications, that can be very helpful to people who are addicted to drugs. Sometimes, though, it takes more than one "treatment episode" for a person to be able to stay drug-free for good

-Lisa Onken

Does rehab really help?

-*.....breanna....*,

Yes, rehab can help. Of course, the word rehab can refer to many different things. If a person has a drug problem, they should look into different treatment options, and choose treatment programs or providers that have good success rates. But the bottom line is that there are many forms of treatment -involving behavioral interventions, and sometimes involving medications, that can be very helpful to people who are addicted to drugs. Sometimes, though, it takes more than one "treatment episode" for a person to be able to stay drug-free for good.

-Lisa Onken

does rehab really work?

-taylor,

That's a very good question. "Rehab" can mean a lot of different things, and can involve many different types of drug abuse treatment. But, in general, drug abuse treatment can really work. Of course, whether or not it works depends upon many things. For example, the type of treatment received and the effectiveness of that treatment is important. Once a person is receiving high quality treatment, the longer the person stays in treatment is very much related to whether or not they are successful.Behavioral treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, teach people skills that they can use to avoid drugs and reduce urges to take drugs, and they can be very powerful treatments, but it is important that people do their treatment "homework" to maximize their chances of successful recovery. And medications may be very important, especially in the treatment of heroin addiction. Rehab can involve many different forms of treatment,depending upon the drugs a person is using, but in general, good drug abuse treatment can work very well. Even so, it is important for the person who recovers from drugs to understand that they are vulnerable to relapse, and so keeping their relapse prevention skills sharp - perhaps even with "booster" sessions -may be vital in ensuring long-term success.

-Lisa Onken

does smoking weed lead to other drugs?

-john,

Not necessarily. However, marijuana is itself addictive. One out of ten people who smoke marijuana develop an addiction to it. When we look at people who abuse illegal drugs, they tend to have also used marijuana--and nicotine and alcohol. Marijuana can pose other significant health risks. Check out https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana for more information.

-Frank Vocci

Don't some doctors prescribe marijuana if the person has an eating disorder and the drug dosage makes you hungry?

-nelson_z11,

The Food and Drug Administration responsible for ensuring the safety of everything from cosmetics to human and animal medications to our nation's food supply has not approved marijuana to treat any medical illness. That is because smoking marijuana can cause serious health and social problems, including the risk of addiction. However, the FDA has approved certain medications that contain ingredients found in marijuana. These medications are usually prescribed to relieve symptoms in seriously ill patients, such as those with cancer or AIDS to help patients eat more or to reduce nausea. See http://www.nida.nih.gov/MarijBroch/teens/ for more information.

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Dose marijuana make u stupid?

-krodriguez,

Marijuana impairs your memory and judgement. So you can end up acting more stupid than you are.You can find out more about that at: http://www.drugabuse.gov/

-Steve Grant

Dr. Kevin Conway what's the newest drug on the market?

-jwphealth,

The drug scene is always evolving, so it's hard to provide a direct answer to your question. But recent surveys of teenagers show that prescription drugs are being used more than ever before. This is a concern because many of these drugs are addictive, and they are being used without a doctor's permission. This combination makes us very concerned about how this trend will affect the health of young people and society as a whole. Our website has the latest information on drug abuse and related resources: http://www.drugabuse.gov

-Kevin Conway

Can you HiV with a person that doesnt have it?

-BKH,

You cannot get HIV from an uninfected person.However, you should know that even when a person says they are uninfected, they may have HIV.A large majority of people do not know their HIV status.Also, it is possible to test negative for HIV but still be infected, especially the first few weeks after infection.You can find information about the link between drug abuse and HIV infection, with links to the latest research findings and news updates at https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/hivaids.

-Steve Gust

Can you list some drugs that are depressants?

-Elmo!!,

Sure. Depressants slow down your nervous system. Examples of these include alcohol, valium, xanax, librium, and sleeping pills. For more information see: http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Prescription/prescription3.html.

-Aria Crump

can you live a healthy normal lifestyle after beinhg addicted for so many years

-georgeypoo,

Yes. There are lots and lots of people who have recovered from using drugs and have gone on to live wonderful lives. Most people find that they need to make some changes in their lifestyle once they stop using drugs, like doing activities that don't involve drugs or hanging out with people who don't use drugs. All in all, there are lots of reasons to stop using drugs!

-Melissa Riddle

Can you predict how drugs will personally affect you?

-mattw,

There is no way to predict how drugs will personally affect you-- at least after the first time of using a drug. It is in a sense like playing russian roulette with your body. However, we can learn from examples of how drugs affect others who have taken them and have ended up losing their jobs, losing their money, and losing control of their life.

-Joni Rutter

Can you repair your lungs after smoking for several years?

-g,

Yes and no. Some changes in cells are probably permanent. However, you can reduce your risk of developing serious lung diseases and other smoking-related disorders by quitting. If you're thinking about quitting see your doctor. There are several medications available that can double your chance of quitting successfully. For more information about smoking, go to: http://www.smoking.drugabuse.gov/Here's a website with resources to help you quit smoking: http://www.smokefree.gov

-Frank Vocci

Could babies get addicted 2 drugs if their parents take it?

-bronxboi96,

Great question. It's a complex question because addiction is a complex disease -- no single factor can predict who becomes addicted to drugs (it's a mix - genes, environment, age of first use). We have a bunch of researchers who are trying to figure out whether or not exposure to drugs in the womb makes you more susceptible to addiction once the babies become teenagers. I've heard of one study where prenatal exposure to nicotine was related to nicotine use in adolescence...studies are underway to see if marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine exposure is related to risk for addiction as a teenager. We do know that babies exposed to opiates in the womb (such as heroin) exhibit something we call the neonatal abstinence syndrome when they are born. Just like adults who stop using heroin, these babies have symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms have also been observed in fetuses whose mother's are smoking.

-Nicolette Borek

could household cleaning supplies be considered as drugs since some teens sniff them?

-cgonzales,

yes and they are called inhalants.some can make a person high but they are also very toxic. please go to www.drugabuse.gov for more information on the dangerous effects of these drugs.

-Nora Volkow

Could LSD kill you? Could ecstasy kill you?

-JEtgrl,

These are kind of scary questions, but I know the answers are important to you. LSD itself is not likely to kill you. However, it alters your perceptions and your abilities to make good decisions, and when you are under its influence, you may do something that will lead to your own harm. Ecstasy, which is methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA),is another powerful chemical that affects your brain, and, like LSD, can affect your decision-making. In addition, MDMA can also lead to severe dehydration because it has effects on the the part of your brain that regulates temperature and you may not recognize that you need to keep yourself hydrated (drinking water). This can have serious consequences for you. MDMA can also cause nausea, chills, sweating, involuntary teeth clenching, muscle cramping, and blurred vision. MDMA overdose can also occur - the symptoms can include high blood pressure, faintness, panic attacks, and in severe cases, a loss of consciousness and seizures. Here is a source of free information about the latest science-based drug abuse facts, publications, and teaching materials for parents, teachers and students. http://www.backtoschool.drugabuse.gov/

-Nancy Pilotte

Could people who do drugs get lung disease, heart attack or stroke?

-bsmith,

Absolutely.Nicotine is a drug, and smoking causes lung diseases including emphysema and cancer. Cocaine and other stimulants cause heart attacks and strokes.Drugs can also cause many other disorders and more. You can find out more about that at: http://www.drugabuse.gov/

-Steve Grant

Could you be affected if you are near someone who is doing drugs?

-Groucho,

yes, particularly if the drug is being smoked, there can be second-hand smoke exposure. For tobacco, this has been clearly linked to increased health risks.

-Barry Hoffer

dear experts, you are not experts. answer MY queshtions not amanda. My teacher is dissapointed in you. please call me to answer my queshtions at 1-56 383 7876. im pissed off GOODBYE

-lmgs07,

Sorry, you're upset, we've been here answering questions non-stop for about 3 hours and we've gotten close to 20,000 questions already. We are doing our best! Read the archives next week, maybe you will see your question and answer posted there!

-Moderator

Describe the immediate effects of GHB in both the physical and mental areas of one's wellness

-west3141,

Thanks for the interesting question! Coma and seizures can occur following use of GHB. Combining use with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea and breathing difficulties. GHB may also produce withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating. GHB and two of its precursors, gamma butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4 butanediol (BD), have been involved in poisonings, overdoses, date rapes, and deaths. If you are interested in more science-based information on MDMA and other club drugs, visit, www.Teens.drugabuse.gov, and www.BacktoSchool.drugabuse.gov; or call the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1-800-729-6686.

-Joe Frascella

for what illnessess do doctor's legally give their patients marijuana or any other drug, and why?

-The Colombian,

The Food and Drug Administration is the organization in the US that approves medicines, and it has not approved marijuana for any medical use.That is because smoking marijuana can cause serious health and social problems, including the risk of addiction. However, the FDA has approved certain medications that contain ingredients found in marijuana. These medications are usually prescribed to relieve symptoms in seriously ill patients, such as those with cancer or AIDS to help patients eat more or to reduce nausea. See http://www.nida.nih.gov/MarijBroch/teens/ for more information.

-Steve Gust

Getting bumped off every time my students log on for a question

-Bobo,

We have been having some trouble handling the volume of questions that we are receiving this morning. Keep trying, and remember to check back next week, we've received and answered a large amount of great questions today and are responding as fast as we can!

-Moderator

Have most teens used marijuana in their life?

-a,

Although it may seem that everyone is doing it, it is probably way fewer that you guess. In a national school survey last year, about 15% of 8th graders, 32% of 10th graders, and 42% of 12th graders reported having used marijuana in their lifetime.

-Marsha Lopez