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 here.

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can drugs affect your children's DNA? :P


Animal studies show that many drugs of abuse can have bad effects on the DNA of the fetus.

-Ruben Baler

can drugs affect your DNA and growth??


Good question. This is a complicated answer! Drugs of abuse can "turn on" or "turn off" genes. This change in gene funtioning in your brain that may change your brain chemistry and structure and this could lead to drug addiction--This is your brain on drugs....

-David Shurtleff

Can drugs affective your eating habits?


Yes. Many drugs have an impact on eating--marijuana causes an increase in appetite for many people and stimulants like cocaine or amphetamine reduce appetite. Even tobacco can have an impact on eating behaviors. See www, for more info about drug abuse.

-Wilson Compton

can drugs make someone go crazy?


YES - but it depends on the drug, the amount taken, and the person's genetics. Some drugs, such as methampethamine or marijuana can produce paranoia and hallunciantions when used at high doses or in those that are sensitive to them because of their genes.

-Nora Volkow

can you get addicted to Nite Qiol


Do you mean Ny-Quil -- the cold/flu medication? Many over the counter drugs can be abused if you don't use them as directed. You have to be careful about side effects and make sure you don't use certain other medications that might cause a bad reaction. It is important to read the label and the instructions before taking these kinds of medications. It's always best to get advice from your doctor or pharmacist before taking even over the counter medicine.

-Jan Lipkin

can you get caner from doing drugs like cocaine and meth?


There's no evidence that using cocaine or methamphetamine causes cancer. However, other medical consequences can be severe, and include stroke and even death. see and

-Frank Vocci

can you get high from bread mold?


Well...we haven't had that question today....but we're all pretty sure the answer is no.

-Jan Lipkin

do drugs genrally make people depressed after using them


They can. It depends on the drug and the amount taken. Cocaine and methampethamine are more likely to cause depression than other drugs, but marijuana can leave you feeling tired and wihtout energy.

-Nora Volkow

do drugs genraly make depression set in after using them

-old greg,

Not all drugs and not in all people. Some drugs do it more than others, for example cocaine and methampethamine make people feel depressed as they come off of the drugs, whereas marijuana may make a person indifferent to his/her surrounding and with no motivation to do anything. For those that take alcohol at high doses they can feel depressed when not intoxicated.

-Nora Volkow

Do drugs like tylenol lead to addiction?


Tylenol can cause problems if too much is taken but Tylenol is not addictive. People don't get high from taking Tylenol.

-Wilson Compton

Do drugs make happiness because im really depressed?


You are not alone in being depressed. Lots of teens and lots of adults feel as badly as you do. And while it may seem like doing recreational drugs will make you feel better, the truth is, you need to see a doctor to find out if a prescription drug (one that is right for you) is what you need, or maybe you just need to talk with a professional. But I promise you, if start taking drugs to feel better you will DEFINITELY feel worse in the long run. Go talk to an adult you trust and tell them you need help...and then get help. You can do it, and it will get better.

-Elisabeth Davis

Do many kids in high school do drugs


That is a very good question. Sometimes people think more kids use drugs than actually do. Every year for the past 33 years the Monitoring the Future project has asked thousands of high school students across the country about their experience with drugs. In 2007, 35.6% of the 10th graders and 46.8% of the 12th graders who answered the survey said they had used an illegal drug at least once. Overall, the number of kids who said they had used an illegal drug has fallen every year since 2000, which is great. Unfortunately, during the same period the number of kids reporting inappropriate use of prescription medications--which can be just as addictive and dangerous as illegal drugs--has not decreased. For complete figures from monitoring the future, see

-Eve Reider

can you still get fertilized while on drugs?


Hey there - yep, you can get pregnant while on drugs. If you do get pregnant tell your doctor if you are using drugs - alcohol and tobacco too. All of these can effect the developing baby!

-Nicolette Borek

Can you survive an overdose?


Yes, not everyone dies from an overdose. We use a drug, NARCAN, to revive people who have OD'd on heroin or prescription pain killers.Cocaine overdoses can be fatal but treatment can improve survival.

-Frank Vocci

Do you think drug use will be different in the year 2020?


It is very likely that there will be new drugs. But its also very probable that people will still be abusing the classical drugs--alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, and heroin.

-Nora Volkow

do you think smoking should be banned from tv?


It's already banned from TV. Smoking does occur in movies and, of course, movies are shown on TV after they've had their run on Netflix. To see why it's so dangerous, learn more about cigarette smoking at

-Frank Vocci

do steroids actually make reproaductive organs samaller?


Important question. The answer is yes, they can. Steroids can cause a whole bunch of medical complications including atrophy (reduction) of the testicles. More info available at Thanks

-Jan Lipkin

Do steroids really down size your genitals?


Yep. Specifically steroid use by men can cause shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts, increased risk for prostate cancer.

-Anna Staton

could u die from drug abuse?


Yes, taking any opiate, such as heroin or prescription pain relievers, can cause you to stop breathing. And combining drugs and alcohol can be very risky. Thousands of people die from drug overdoses every year in the US. For more facts on drugs, go to For information on prescription drugs, go to

-Frank Vocci

did elvis preasly realy over dose and die


Yes, he died from an overdose of prescription drugs

-Nora Volkow

Do people die more of addiction to tobacco or driving under the influence?


This is a tricky question. Driving under the influence is immediate and short term. Right after drinking or using drugs, someone gets into a car crash. The impact of tobacco happens after many year--when people die of cancer or lung disease. Overall the number of people dieing from tobacco is huge (about 440,000 per year) but for teens, Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs kills more than tobacco.

-Wilson Compton

do people ever die instantly from drugs?

-cody salisbury,

Yes. Some drugs in some people can cause instant death. Just one more reason that doing drugs is a totally bad idea, wouldn't ya say?

-Elisabeth Davis



Great question!!! Generally people do not get addicted after using a drug once, but it really depends on the drug and the individual taking the drug. It is a bit like playing Russian roulette with some drugs as there have been reports of people taking a drug for a single time that lead to a lifetime of addiction. Its better to not try any drug even once!

-Joe Frascella

Do people mix drugs?

-Special One,

Yes. They mix all types of drugs, legal drugs like alcohol and cigarrettes, legal and illegal drugs like cocaine and alcohol and illegal drugs like cocaine and heroine. Mixing drugs increases the probability of overdoses and medical complications

-Nora Volkow

Do perscription drugs have a major effect on your life if they are not used illegally?


This is a hard question to answer. Of course, for people who have a serious medical condition, prescription drugs can be really helpful and even life-saving. But there's ar eason that they require a prescription from a doctor--they can be really dangerous when taken outside of a doctor's supervision.

-Wilson Compton

Do children with fetal alcohol syndrome grow up to be addicts?


Not all of them, but they are at increased risk! Compared to children whose mothers didn't drink during pregnancy, even children whose alcohol exposure in the womb was too little to cause fetal alcohol syndrome, are several times more likely to develop alcohol and other drug addiction. Research in rats artificially exposed to alcohol in utero show differences in how they respond to drugs and stress in general.

-James Bjork

Do drugs affect the elderly in negative ways?


Important question. As we age our bodies process medications and drugs differently. We are now seeing an increase rate of drug abuse in older adults which may result in big problems. Since elderly people are often on prescribed medications from their doctors for various health conditions, taking other drugs may interact badly with these medications.

-Jan Lipkin

does anyone smoke crack in your family? And if they do what did you do to stop them?

-taco and jazmin,

I have had family members and friends who used drugs and I learned that I can't stop them from using. What I have done is point out my love for them and concern about the impact drugs are having on them. You can get information on treatment resources in your area (1-800-622-help) and pass it along. Also if you need to talk to someone further about this you can call 1-800-273-TALK.

-Redonna Chandler

can you get hooked on drugs over the conter and why if yes?


It depends on the drug and how its used Cough suppressants are over the counter drugs that can produce addiction when used at higher doses than those recommended for their medical intent. This is because, like other drugs, it can activate the pleasure centers in the brain.

-Nora Volkow

can you get viruses frrom drugs?


Not directly from drugs, but when you are under the influence of certain drugs such as alcohol, or methampethamine which increase sexual desire and decrease inhibitions a person may end up infected with hiv or hepatitis from enaging in risky sexual behaviors. Also when people inject drugs they can get viruses from the use of contaminated needles.

-Nora Volkow